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August 20th, 2009 by Dr. Phil

Graphic PSA Drives Home Dangers of Texting and Driving

A new public service announcement produced by the Wales police department sends a graphic message to people thinking about reaching for that cell phone or PDA while they’re cruising down the road.

Does the above PSA go too far, or is this gory message necessary to deliver the true dangers of texting while driving? Let me hear your thoughts!

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94 Responses to “Graphic PSA Drives Home Dangers of Texting and Driving”

  1. Amanda says:

    This is perfect, Dr Phil. People now days really need visuals to understand what can really happen, and this hit the nail right on the head. I just wish something like this would come out for cell phone use period. Everyday I have to deal with drivers on their cell phones in big, unstable vehicles like trucks and suv’s, and it’s a nightmare. These people are reckless, worse than drunk drivers, in my opinion, and they’re swerving all around me daily. And I only live in Elkins, WV. I can’t imagine what it’s like in big cities if this is what it’s like here.

  2. Well Dr. Phil. I want to say it is totally over the top. But in all reality it seems like no one is listening to the voices saying don’t text and drive. Those voices seem to not penetrate at all, in any way. Something visual like this is shocking, its creepy, it unnerves you. Maybe that is what people need now. My mind to instantly to little kids in the room when this comes on the TV. Are we going to freak them out or tramatize them because of this?

  3. jean orr says:


  4. Katie says:

    I don’t think it matters how graphic the message is because texting and driving is the new version of drinking and driving and there are always the people who do it anyway. There’s also the society wide view of invincability until something happens to you specifically and that’s the real issue. If we could deal with that it would fix so many different problems.

  5. Joy says:

    Young drivers need a reality check. I don’t think the ad goes to far. I would call it a a wake up call to all young drivers. They have to know they are not infallible. As far as kids being traumatized, with what goes on in there homes anymore today, I don’t believe that to be true.

    I have an ex son-in-law that is mentally abusing his children on their visits with him. There is trauma for you. His daughter who just turned 15 in January will no longer go to his home. Even though the judge has told my daughter she must insist she go for visits. Now the 12 year old has to go it alone. This guy as been in jail for domestic abuse, and drunk driving, he also smokes pot but has never been arrested for that. He is also a habitual liar. How the court can not protect these children we as the grand parents don’t understand it. He has a long track record for abuse but keeps getting way with this abuse. He has tried to choke my daughter to death twice. He was able to plea bargain his case down from spousal abuse. The day they allowed plea bargains was the day the victims stayed victims. Where is the justice for protecting two little girls. Now he is married again to a woman that is about 20 years younger then him and has two more daughters. My grand daughters have come back from his home telling how he whips his step son (who is I think he’s 10 now) with a belt. When the judge asked him if he believed in spanking (I believe using a belt is not spanking, in my opinion, it’s abuse) he said yes, I would to it again. I would of put him on monitored visit after that answer. I am married to this boy’s father. His father has sided with my daughter because he has always told his son when your wrong your wrong and I can not stand up for you if you are out right wrong. This case has been unsettled in court for the past ten years. We as grand parents have watched this situation change who our grand children are. He prays on the girls feelings. He tells them that if they don’t want to visit him anymore he will give them up and they will never see him again. Now they are again all in mediation with the court. Now the kids are going to tell on him. They are older and now understand the truth. The court has ordered that the court case is not to be discussed in front of the children. My daughter brought it up in court about him discussing it, or should I say telling them about things that make mother look like she is the problem. He has gotten out his paper work and demanded that his 15 year old read it. She refused, so is wife drug her to the table and she read it to her. My daughter does not discuss court with the girls. She has tried to make their lives as normal as possible because of what is going on. They are happy when they are home with their mother and they trust her. With all that has gone on she has tried to shield them as best as she could. My daughter is remarried and the girls are happy with their step father. My daughter and her husband have lost their home because of always having to pay attorneys fees. In fact they just rented a home. My daughter move about 10 minutes from the dad. In court he told the judge he was going to call the school and stop them from being enrolled because he wants them in the same schools they were in before, by his home he is renting. He has stalked my daughter, beaten her, abused her, and it is the never ending, never ending. Some of these events have happened in front of the children. He was suppose to get the older one in counseling, court ordered. The person called my daughter to find our when her daughter was going into counseling. The told her that he didn’t feel the daughter needed counseling and he wasn’t going to set it up for her, stating she doesn’t have a problem. We are hopping that this time when they go to mediation, the truth will come out. He was ordered to do it and hasn’t. The judge told him last week until the meditation is finished he can hear the case. So mediation is set up again and we will be back in court again in October. Besides my daughter has never had a good attorney. They have taken her money and have done nothing for her. I can not find a reason for this on going now going on 11 years case. God help us there has got to be a light at the end of the tunnel. We as grand parents are getting tired of nothing being done to protect two nice little girls, that have had there psychic’s damaged. I worry about how they will be as adults? The one daughter has gone through this now for 15 years. When does it end?
    So sorry to unload on you Dr. Phil, I just don’t know how much more any of us can take of this. Our hearts are breaking for our grand daughters.

  6. I am opening up a brain injury rehabilitation facility on long island. I run support groups for families that deal with traumatic brain injury. I think this message is whats needed. Its shocking but so is dealing with a brain injured family member. Allyson scerri

  7. Tsukihime says:

    I hate to say it but I think the graphic-ness of this video may cause people to think before they try to text (talk on the cell) and drive. Sadly, it also goes toward desensitizing us to these kinds of images and may have the affect that it doesn’t bother people at all. Unfortunately, I am one of those people who is desensitized and the video doesn’t shock or dismay me at all. I don’t talk or text on the phone but that is a conscious choice I have made, knowing I can’t do that and pay attention to the road at the same time. It’s not a video that helped me make that decision but common sense.

  8. Amber says:

    Totally perfect in my eyes. (Though, very sad) The society these days are completely oblivious to the reality of what they are doing. Everyone knows that what they are doing is wrong, but they do it anyways. I agree with one of the other commenters…the fact that these people are worse than druck drivers…due to the fact that they are fully aware of the choice they are making. Shoot….if it’s okay to make gory movies….then I don’t see any problem with making a statement to the public through a gory and graphic PSA.

  9. Linda Rose says:

    The video is shocking but then many people today need to be shocked to get a message through to them. Sometimes I think too many video games and violent TV programs have stunned some of the last two generations into being unempathetic, unrealistic and unbelieving that anything bad will happen to them.
    They seem to have to be shocked to make believers of them! But as the immunity to shock becomes greater I can’t help but wonder what these people will need to get them to respond to warnings in the future about phoning, texting and drinking while driving ?

  10. Linda says:

    I have never even tried to write a text message while driving, I would never do that. But I think this video is going to far actually. I realise it is a real danger but sometimes I think that if it is to dramatic it has the opposite effect and you don´t take it serioulsy. That may sound strange but that is just how I feel.

  11. susie says:

    I think cell phone use should be against the law in any vehicle. I had a friend who was killed in a head on crash by a driver answering the phone. I think saving a life is worth showing this PSA untill everyone gets it.

  12. @hasbell says:

    Initial reaction says it’s extreme… but extreme messages are needed in these times to drive home a point that is so pointed and that needs to be driven home.

    These days people take liberties to do as we wish thinking it affects no one but us. This video gives us a clear reality check that texting while driving has the potential to kill. It is dangerous and is just as bad as drinking and driving. We have more “texters” on the road than we do drunks. Our lives are at stake, and I appreciate this video being out there to bring awareness of the reality of the consequences.

  13. Barbara says:

    I think it’s sad that we have to be so graphic to get people to understand how dangerous texting and driving is but they don’t listen to what they are told so they need to see it. I’m sure that this won’t stop people from texting and driving and that’s even more disturbing. What really makes me mad is they don’t consider the other peoples lives they are putting in danger. This should be played every commercial break around the world until people get the message.

  14. Kathy Croft says:

    Dr Phil
    I think this is great. We are not going to stop young ones from texting and driving by pussy footing around. I spent 19 years working in a rehab hospital and if you saw some of the survivors of these accidents you realise these are the real victims. The more graphic the better chance some might heed the warning.


  15. Nicole says:

    Thank you so much to those of you who replied to my post. I’m glad to know that people care. Sorry if I scared anyone, I just didn’t know who to reach out to. I’m a college freshman and having some trouble making friends, and loneliness and negative thoughts just tossed me into a vortex of depression. I survived last night, and I’m feeling much better now. So again, thank you to those of you who responded! I’m truly touched

  16. Paradoxis says:

    Nicole, I’m really happy to see your post, and am so glad you’re feeling better now. I still think it’s important for you to find someone you can trust to talk to, so you don’t feel so alone. You deserve it. :-)
    Remember there are always people out there who care and want to help. Good on you for reaching out!
    Take care,

  17. Tsukihime says:

    Nicole, I am so sorry I did not see your post until today. I am glad you are feeling better. I would suggest going to see a doctor, if you have a regular doctor, please call and make an appointment to see them, they may be able to suggest a specialist (mental health) or maybe they can prescribe something to help. Most phone books also list crisis numbers in the very front or very back. Please don’t suffer, you don’t have to.

  18. Betsy says:

    No the message does not go too far. This is reality. I live 8 minutes from my job and I encounter idiots like this everyday. BTW…It’s not just the kids who have their mind on the phone instead of on the road in front of them. Personally I don’t care if they kill themselves, but I do care about me and my loved ones. State laws banning cell phone use while driving should be enacted nation wide and heavily enforced.

  19. Kim says:

    Dr Phil, i have seen the video on facebook, a friend of mine posted it and when i saw it i sent it to everyone that i knew that had a teen that was driving, including my own. My daughter says she never does while she drives she knows its dumb. So i have to take her at her word. But even if she did, i don’t think after watching that that she will again. It is graphic but i think u need to see how it can impact so many lives not just your own.

  20. Mary Lou says:

    I think it is worth a try to show this, but unfortunately, I don’t think it would have enough of an effect. From what I have seen, those that text and drive have the opinion that they are capable of doing so safely, that it is only someone else who may not be able to text and drive safely. I think it would be much more effective to have people who were actually in an accident caused by their texting talk to schools and colleges and tell of their experience. I also am very much in support of making it illegal to use a cell phone in any manor while driving. Of course, there will always be those that break the law and do it anyway, just as in drunk driving, but it would cut down the numbers of those doing so.

  21. Tim says:

    It can’t NOT be over the top! Too bad teens and texter’s can’t actually BE on the scene of an accident like this to get the REAL impact of the reality of it all! It’s TV, it’s video, it’s not real. TV has desensitized us all to reality.

  22. I don’t believe that this type of video can be too over the top. I have submitted a link to this video to a secretary at my old high school and she showed it to the head principal. Now they want to make this a standard video in science and health classes alongside drunk driving videos. I have embedded this video on my MySpace page as well. I have a few friends that use a cell phone for different things while they are driving and I WON’T ride with them. I turn my cell phone I will meet them wherever they want to meet me, though.

  23. Annie says:

    Dr. Phil,
    The video is very much needed today. My heart felt very heavy while watching and want to make sure my daughter sees it. She is forever texting while driving. When I am in the car with her I have to demand that she stop and put it away otherwise I will not be a future passenger with her. I think when we are in our late teens and twenties we think nothing is going to happen to us until it is unfortunately too late. It is a great message and one that should be on every TV station. God Bless you and yours.

  24. Peggy Spivey says:

    I absolutely think the graphic images are necessary to force young people to grasp the idea of death. Most “drive and text” users are young, between 16 and 25, and at that age they still think they are invincible.

    Even after a horrific accident (like drinking and driving), an injured teen will still
    say they will drive again and don’t think the accident was their fault…I’ve seen them interviewed on the Dr. Phil show.

    We should adopt the use of graphic PSA’s in the US; perhaps they could be shown after 9 pm to avoid frightening younger children. I imagine even with these realistic graphics, only a few individuals will change their texting habits, thinking “it won’t happen to me”.

  25. kevin vance says:

    I live in the province of ontario canada as of october 1 2009 it will be illegal to send and recieve text messages as well as reiding emails on your smart phone they only be able to use it is bluetooth enabled

  26. Linda Lynch says:

    I think that this public service announcement is so important for our young people to see. I know that my 18 year old grandson texts while he drives and it makes me sick thinking of the possible repercussions. I know he thinks he is invincible, so maybe seeing something this graphic might get to him and others that do it. I know when my husband and I watched it it made a huge impact on us. I felt sick to my stomach and can only hope that those that text, no matter what age, get impressed enough to stop texting while driving.

  27. Jane says:

    The state of Victoria in Australia has had very graphic ads for a number of years. Please click on the links to see a small selection. I don’t’ think the Welsh ad was graphic or over the top at all. The more realistic the better and the TAC ads have proven to be effective in that regard.

    driving on drugs

    driving fatigued

    real victims

    Christmas ad


    slow down!


  28. Susani Sacca says:

    I traveled ALOT this summer like from OHIO, thru WEST VIRGINA THE WHOLE STATE of Penn and to NJ. We also went down thru KY, Tenn, Mississippi, Louisianna Too!

    These were not kids texting.

    It was PEOPLE of all ages. Not even someone lets say in a “work” truck either.

    My husband and I swore a person must be drunk or something and there it was
    PEOPLE WERE TEXING and we high tailed it away from them every single time.

    These “texters” are in there own bubble and do not care or do they see a 18 wheeler coming up on there butts and its really hard to stop when your in one my husband was a former 18 wheeler truck driver and from that one show DR PHIL with that silly teenager texting NOW THIS HAS BECOME A NATIONAL EPIDEMIC!

  29. Mary Lynn Clark says:

    I am 20 year veteran Registered Nurse in a busy Trauma/Intensive Care Unit. On first glance, this video is shocking, but sadly, I see the end result of this all too often. I have seen too many lives (old and young) cut short or devastated because of a moment of inattentionor careless judgement. Life is precious. A bold move on the part of the Wales Police Department; I applaud them. We need to heed their message.

  30. Rebecca says:

    I’ve seen this on the news channels a couple of times. I think this is pretty hard to watch, BUT My opinion is that it should be on TV and should perhaps be required watching for all teenagers before they’re given a driver’s license. It certainly gets the message across and takes away the illusion that it couldn’t happen to you. It’s a well made ad that should be used to it’s fullest extent.

  31. Anita says:

    I don’t think it’s too graphic. And maybe it should be a part of driver’s ed training. And perhaps it will wake up some of the driving population who are not teenagers, who also text. The only thing I would say is it shouldn’t be shown to kids too soon under the age of driving because it might do more harm than good.I would say when they’re old enough to get thier learner’s they’re old enough to see this ad.

  32. Sue-Ellen says:

    It is graphic but it is also reality. Teenagers and Young Adults need a major wakeup call. I can’t believe anyone would risk their lives like this. Nothing is more important than safeguarding your life. We need to show people what the realities of life are. They need to know there are serious consequences for their actions. Life is the most precious thing you have, don’t ever take it for granted. Value it.

  33. brenda riley thomas says:


  34. Maurine says:

    Going too far? Not at all. Will it help spread a healthy fear among users? Unfortunately, there are people everywhere who feel invincible, until it’s too late. I wish they realized all it takes is a second of inattention on the road to alter everybody’s lives forever.

  35. Jceeson says:

    Honestly now a days this has to be the way to get the message across!!! Too many people are doing this stupid selfish act! In Toronto, Canada where I am from it has become ( as of September 1st ) illegal to drive and text or talk on a cellphone at the same time! It should be like this everywhere. There shouldn’t even be a debate about it!!! Like you always say Dr. Phil “commen sense needs to make a comeback” Amen too that! God bless.

  36. shannon says:

    I am the mother of 3, 2 of whom are driving teenagers. Two years ago TODAY my daughter’s very good friend was killed on her way to school texting while driving, They had been friends and played soccer together since they were 5. When I received this vid the first thing I did was post it to FB then email it to my entire address book. I was an EMT in a past life and still have many friends who are firefighters/medics… Until you’ve seen the real destruction it is entirely too difficult to understand. I don’t believe this goes over the top at all. I think it should be required viewing prior to receiving a license. It’s real and it’s graphic just as that accident my daughter’s friend died in. People need to understand the impact of their irresponsibility.

    RIP Erica, September 7, 2005

  37. Edna M Glenn says:

    That the message should be passed and went too far. The teen girls should not be
    texting while driving is dangerous or they will dead or worse.
    Every parent should take the cell phone away when the teenager is going to drive
    the car. Leave the cell phones at home with your parents!

  38. Beth Norman says:

    I got hooked on your show when I was put off work for 2 1/2 years (during which time I got diagnosed with bipolar). I never missed an episode and now that I’m back to work, I tape your shows. Texting teens didn’t sound like an interesting topic the day you came on, but I gave it a 5 min chance. Boy did I learn that you can’t judge a book by it’s cover–I learned so much. Not thinking it pertained to my life, I was wrong. After watching the show, and the video, I told my grown children about your show and that told them that they better not text while driving.

    My sister is a paediatrician and let me tell you, it is darn scary driving with her. She is on the interstate on the cell with another doctor, reaching into the back seat for a patient’s file, while steering with her knee. Then she proceeds to read through the file while talking on the phone. I swear that God is watching over her because she hasn’t been in an accident yet. Why, I can’t explain it. She even steered the wheel with her elbow once, when she was digging in her purse for her phone. With five children, I worry. I try to tell her what I learn from your shows, but she doesn’t seem to take the time to slow down.

  39. Dolores Troeller says:

    Why can’t we as civilians report someone we see texting or talking on the phone, (somewhat like a Citizens arrest) Just call in the license plate # and after 3 strikes you get a ticket in the mail… Good way to help with the National Deficit too. Isn’t it a citizens duty to come to the rescue of another who may be in danger? Well when someone’s texting or on their cell phone while driving isn’t anyone in their vicinity considered a person in danger.

  40. Kathy Miller says:

    I don’t think it’s too much! I think it’s not enough! Being in the emergency medical field, sadly we have to deal with the aftermath of the events. If people would just think about what they are doing!! This public service annoucement was geared towards teenagers. While yes they do like to text, so do the adults. Telling teenagers to leave their phones at home is not the answer. I can’t tell you how many grown-ups I have seen doing the same thing. This and videos like it should be played for new drivers, regardless of age, before they are given a license. And if your still texting after seeing this video remember it’s not just you out there on the road it’s innocent people.

  41. Ashley says:

    I see that the common response is to talk about “today’s kids!” and how “they need to see!” I am 19 years old and will be entering college soon, and I suppose that I am probably on the older age range of who this ad is targeting.
    However, let me try to offer some perspective from someone my age, and how I think it would be taken.
    Firstly, recall the D.A.R.E program? I remember it as graphic videos, where essentially some young girl/boy would try marijuana (”I heard it was bad!” “No, it’s cool!” “Okay!”), and in a terribly chain of events she shared marijuana with her friends, then tried cocaine, then soon she was trading her grandma’s heirloom necklace to some sleazy dealer for crack. Pan out as she lays dead on her bed. According to Time Magazine, as well as studies of kids who were exposed to the D.A.R.E program, kids do not react well to hyperbole, nor such a condescending “just say no” message. Kids exposed to the D.A.R.E. program, according to studies, had lower self esteem and were no less likely to try smoking, drinking, or more illicit drugs.
    However, while we are using anecdotes, I am one of “today’s kids,” and I think that there is an idea that we are overly desensitized to where we need these shock messages to understand. When I watched the drug videos, which were largely shock like this text psa, I was traumatized. I replayed the images in my head at night, couldn’t sleep, and was sick to my stomach during class. And I was probably the least likely at that point in my life of trying drugs/smoking/drinking. I didn’t want to go back to school. The video intensely disturbed me. Fast forward to high school and I was bitter, angry, didn’t respect the hyperbole feel good messages of adult figures, and smoked cigarettes, and drank occasionally.
    Am I the person this is targeting? I have common sense – I shouldn’t drive and text, because I should be paying attention the road. I wouldn’t read and drive either.
    The people that would be trumpeting this campaign while in high school, are the people that are most likely not going to text and drive anyway. Do I think that it would change anyone’s habits after seeing some gore, if they already text and drive? Probably not. Because they already know the risks – it’s dumb to text and drive, and car accidents can kill/maim. It is condescending to assume that teens can’t make the connection without a good ad filled with gore and tragedy.
    I know whoever is responsible for this ad had their heart in the right place, but I think it is unnecessary and backwards. I hardly anticipate any other reaction from texting drivers (especially teenagers) than “Yup, that’s what a car accident looks like.”
    The argument that if it helps one person not do it, than it’s worth it. I understand. But what about kids like me, and there must be more like me, who would have been traumatized, disturbed, and perhaps do more bad than good in our lives?

  42. christine davis says:

    i have talked to my daughter about this after you had a show on it and she did stop for the most part but now she is at it again, to her she thinks its a natural as adjusting the radio!!!
    she is such a smart girl as is going places with her life, she is very well educated and graduated with honors went on to uu and graduated validictorian of her class.
    she has now got a job in IN. and travels back and forth on the weekends. i txt to but i do not while driving. what has happened to common sense? im scared for her, i dont want her to feel the pain of what could happen to her or someone else. i sure wish you would call her on her phone and tell her a one min. phone call from you could and would make a difference in her life.

  43. Elie says:

    I bet some viewers would go like: “these dumb girls! That would never happen to me” and continue texting and driving till they realize that they are as dumb as these girls i.e. get killed or injured in a car accident.

  44. metak8 says:

    It doesn’t go far enough…the driver survives, but we don’t get to see the decades of misery she will suffer from guilt and permanent injuries. It would be even better with a montage of the survivors’ unhappy future lives spent in wheelchairs or as bedridden, brain damaged financial burdens. I was half expecting the AFLAC duck to appear since this video could easily be used to promote disability insurance too, although not mentioning the scary reality of disability insurance is not AFLAC’s style.

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