Texting while driving and a very violent PSA

So at what point does a public-service announcement cross the line from making its scared-straight point to a maudlin, violent spectacle that young children would find supremely upsetting?

A hopelessly subjective question, just the sort that’s ripe for debate on TV shows like the Today Show.

The controversy comes from Wales, where the police department from a town called Gwent developed the following PSA warning about the dangers of texting while driving:

So there you have it, four minutes and 15 seconds of broken glass, sirens, choked-up screams and tragedy. All because Cassie was giggling over a text message with her friends while her hands should have been at 10 and 2.

What a shame.

The ad isn’t airing on American TV, but the concerns about distracted driving have wafted up to policy circles, with text-messaging the latest bete noire. Several states have passed or are considering laws or stiffer penalties against the practice, and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood recently convened a summit on the matter.

You can find the Gwent police department’s explanation of the PSA here.

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