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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. R.L.Scovens says:

    I don’t think it went too far. It gets the message across. It makes you stop and really think about the dangers of texting while driving. It’s real.

  2. Sharon Elin says:

    I sent this video to my 20-yr.-old daughter in college and asked if she thought it would deter young people from texting while driving. Her response was: “That was very disturbing. But effective. This is the kind of stuff my generation needs. Sad. But that’s just the way it is.”

  3. Catherine says:

    I am glad they put this out there, it made me think twice on texting and driving. I sent it to all my friends and my family members.

  4. Deanna says:

    I think this is a great PSA. Why would we candy coat something as serious as taking another’s life becasue we are to busy “chatting” in the car? Or your own life? Or my children’s life?

  5. Helen Austin says:

    I don’t think it goes too far at all. It is hard to watch but it would be a lot harder if it was a reality for you.

    I let me 12 year old watch bits of it and I think it will always stay with her if she ever considers doing it. She also asked me what she should do if, in the future, she was in a car where her friends were texting and driving. I said that firstly she should offer to take the phone from the driver and do the texting and if that doesn’t work, ask the driver to stop the car and get out and call me.

    I think it will be very effective for most (there are always those who have watched way too much violence, for whom it will just seem like another movie)

  6. Heather Small says:

    I think that the PSA should be required viewing for every child that is of driving age or near to driving age. Yes it is graphic and disturbing but if it stops one accident then it is totally worth it. It should be shown on every television channel so that everyone can see it. Kudos to the team that made it!

  7. Linda says:

    I thought the video was right on target. Kids need to realize the consequences of not watching the road, never mind texting which does just that.

    Head on collisions or any accident is life-altering for everyone involved. Especially when they can be prevented.

    I realize some kids are going to ignore it or not be impacted by something as graphic as the video and that is a shame. However, trying to protect them from seeing this is also a shame since it is a reality.

    Thank you for allowing us to voice our opinions.

  8. Shelley says:

    I believe this PSA should be seen by every single person who has a license to drive. I admit that I used to text while driving. Not often, but I did it. NO MORE! Seeing this made me realize that it is just not worth it.

    One of the most powerful parts of this video is when the car has come to a stop after the first collision and the girls are then hit on the passenger side by another car. You can hear the girl’s neck breaking with the impact. POWERFUL and necessary for everyone to see.

  9. John Fernandes says:

    This video is as real as it gets without going through the same thing. It is graphic by intention and should not be thought of as “too graphic”. The whole reason thousands have died across the world is because those that text while driving simply do not understand the real life consequences of their decision to do so.

    This should not be controversial, but rather mandatory watching for all teens. How many parents sadly now wish that their kids would have watched something like this. It takes bravery, dedication and a true understanding of the problem to create and share a video like this! I’m going to refer the video to all of my patients on my office website.

  10. Marie says:

    I could only wish that something like this could air here in USA. Just this past week, one young male wrote to the editor of our local newspaper that he texts while driving and no law against it is necessary since he can do it.

    He is the target audience for this PSA but he would never believe that this could happen to him. He’ll only be a believer when it does happen to him. Question is, how many will he kill or maim in his arrogance?

  11. i think it might do the job. and no it is not too graphic. people needs to know what you look like when you are doing something that is very dangerous. here in utah it is now against the law to text while driving. i lost a very good while she was talking on her cell phone and not paying any attention. she was talking to her husband at the time. so i think they should make it a universal law no cells while driving. its way too dangerous.

  12. Francisco Cano says:

    You know, people show again and again that they can’t handle a cell phone with SMS capability, unless they are standing stationary. This video clip is fine, it might (though I doubt it) wake the youngsters from their daze of “it’ll all be ok”
    Sadly, I have grown to believe that technologies should be required for cells to work (not only texting!), such as gps tracking, to disable the technology if the device is in motion (unless a handsfree unit is connected)
    Sorry, but it’s the harsh truth.
    It makes me sick to see someone putting their children into a car, sit behind the wheel, start the engine, dial someone on the cell, and maneuver the car out of the parking lot, and onto the road, while talking on the phone. Couldn’t they just have called, before they started the car?!

  13. Francisco Cano says:

    BTW, the film clip is not too graphical, but I think there was too little emphasis on the cell/texting in the whole clip. They should have flashed in the cell, perhaps show a half written message on it, on the floor, covered in blood, or some strong connection between the cell, texting, and the accident. If you miss the first few seconds, it looks a any other crash.

  14. Tere says:

    My 9 year old has aspergers and has many meltdowns. These often happen everywhere including in the car when I am driving and not always in a situation where I can pull over safely. His behaviour has included throwing hard objects at my head from the back seat, strangling me and pulling at my clothing (ie a hood, sleeves of my jacket) so that I am pulled backward away from the wheel as I drive. Obviously my life, his life and the life of others are drastically put at risk. I showed my son this clip to demonstrate the reality of what can happen if a driver is distracted and I think it worked. He would often yell at me “I don’t care if we die” but I don’t think he really knows what that means. This clip is amazing and will speak in a shock tactic to many young people who think they are invincable. Of course when I saw it and my husband saw it and my son saw it we were all shocked and disturbed for a while but it served its purpose. I never text when I drive anyway but I know many young people in particular do. I’ve seen an ex neighbour virtually take out a roundabout while she was chatting on a mobile. What a great piece, I saw go for it and particularly show it to teens.

  15. Shelley says:


    I’m impressed that you showed this to your son as an example of what can happen when a driver is distracted. That was a great idea. Kids often say “I don’t care” but actually seeing it makes them realize just how serious it can be.

  16. TCarter says:

    Hmmm…is reality too graphic?

    So many people seem to have the mindset that things like this won’t happen to them, until it does. For this reason, I don’t see the harm in exposing people to a dose of the realistic dangers associated with the behavior. We’ve all been warned about the dangers of using cell phones/PDAs while driving. However, current methods or trying to impact people with the seriousness of this danger appear to be somewhat ineffective. Maybe a little reality-based shock value is necessary to get the message across.

  17. Paradoxis says:

    I don’t think it goes too far at all. I’ve seen movies just as graphic. This at least serves a purpose. It’s left me thinking about more than just texting while driving. It’s left me thinking about all the consequences. It’s left me thinking about other people.

  18. Ellen says:

    I don’t think it goes too far at all. Kids tend to think they are indestructible, and don’t heed warnings OR think the warnings don’t apply to them. My younger brother was a prime example of this and would drive dangerously. One of his classmates wrapped his car around a tree and didn’t survive. My Dad took him to see the car, and my brother had nightmares for a week or two, but drove more carefully after that. If it saves one life, it was worth it…

  19. Emily says:

    I in no way think this PSA is too graphic. This is the reality of what can happen. Just today Gov. Patterson signed a new law for NYS to make texting and driving illegal. I am glad that he did this. When I first saw this video it was at the beginning of this week. I posted it to my profile and it seems right after I did that so many of my friends did the same thing and now I have seen how much this video has blown up across the US. This makes me very happy. I am glad to see that something like this is getting this much attention. I know of a girl who texts and drives all the time and she is not the best driver when she is not texting. I actually sent this to her. I am sure she just laughed at it like she did the last video that she got about texting. You would think that for someone who gets all of these videos that they would get the point. STOP TEXTING AND DRIVING. Please save the lives of my children and me so we can see another day together.

  20. Blgspc says:

    Know What?
    This PSA neither KILLED nor caused a life-long disability to anyone….TEXTING WHILE DRIVING CAN DO BOTH OF THE AFORE MENTIONED!!!


  21. Lisa says:

    I thought that this was a great video, as I too am guilty of texting and driving. If anything, I think that it’s often easier to get into an accident in comparison to what this video depicts. I am glad that this issue is being addressed so aggressively for people (like me) who have had a tendency to text and drive.

  22. Lori Goehl says:

    This was actually sent to me by a facebook friend- I think everyone- young or old need to see this- reality would be much worse than this and I think this PSA is a good start to bring the awareness to how dangerous it is to text and drive.

  23. Donna says:

    In 2008 my husband and I completed a long distance motorcycle trip where we successfully traveled through all 48 states in 10 days. After that trip, I have not been able to use a cell phone while driving AT ALL. I was absolutely shocked by the cars, semi-trucks, police officers, school bus drivers and service delivery trucks that were ALL using cell phones while driving. This and anything else that alerts drivers to the dangers of being distracted while operating any vehicle is needed. Of course, this comment doesn’t apply to the gentleman outside of Chicago, who was sleeping while he drove down the highway!

  24. Maureen says:

    They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Perhaps this video will save a thousand lives. It is not too graphic. It is exactly what could happen.

  25. Toukie says:

    While I agree that this packs a punch, I don’t want to be a pessimist here, but I honestly doubt it will change anything. A few years ago, here in Quebec, we had a PSA like this about drunk driving. We saw the whole accident, and we heard, at the end, the cries of agony of the man who was driving, shouting his girlfriend’s name who had died in the crash. It was really, REALLY powerful. I don’t know anybody who’s heart didn’t break when they heard his cries. BUT it didn’t change anything. People still drink and drive. Last Halloween, a little 3 year old girl got killed because a guy was racing down her street. She was IN her backyard, putting up halloween decoration when he lost control and the car landed on top of her. They did a lot of PSA then. But we keep seeing in the news accidents because of texting, racing or drinking and driving.

    How I wish it would change something, though. I really, really do. It seems everybody thinks “It only happens to someone else”

  26. Soldiers Wife says:

    I love Dr Phil’s saying that is so true and fitting to this topic: “YOU CAN’T CHANGE WHAT YOU DON’T ACKNOWLEDGE”. Much like an alcoholic or addict of any kind, I’m sure many will struggle to admit that texting while driving could pose a problem — until they either view a graphic video like this or have tragedy strike in their own lives. I have to admit that I wasn’t overly concerned with cancer (or anyone who had it) until I witnessed my sisters fight and final surrender to a 7 year battle to skin cancer 15 years ago. Now I fully acknowledge the dangers of exposure to the sun and the need to apply sunscreen to myself and my children. Today, I will share my sister’s story with anyone who will listen. Lesson learned. The “wake up call” of watching her slowly die (for the senseless urge to have darker tan) certainly caused us to ACKNOWLEDGE the truth that ultimately brought about CHANGE for all of my family.

    I feel this PSA is a wonderful tool that will hopefully be the warning that is needed for change to be made. Teens and adults alike, need to get the message (no punn intended :) that texting (or doing anything destracting) while driving is a very senseless way to throw a life (or lives) away. Sadly enough, the only “wake up call” some will get may be losing a loved one tragically or facing the struggles of life altering injuries. When I first watched the video on FaceBook, without hesitation, I posted it to my profile for everyone’s viewing. My thoughts were that if it helped only ONE person to acknowledge the dangers of texting while driving and make a change, then it would be well worth posting. To my surprise, a couple of my FaceBook “friends” quickly replied with negative remarks. One read: “I am so tired of seeing this everywhere….I wish this video would go away already!” Then another who wrote “I can’t believe you are posting this….my neice died in a car wreck last year and watching this forced me to relive that horrible day. I can’t even stand to look at the picture that you have to click on to watch the video!” Of course, it was NEVER my goal to offend anyone, so imagine what a shock it was to find that such effort had been put into airing their negativity for all to see. In my opinion, It seemed to be a very senseless way to “vent” and since I’m not one to advertise such a thing, I quickly learned how to delete “friends” with mindless attitudes and no regard to something that may save lives. This also erases their comments, which was a smarter move on my part than leaving them a reply that would “fuel the fire” even more. If I had known that Dr. Phil was asking for opinions on this, I certainly would have directed them here!

    I am definitely not calloused or cold to hurting people, but it doesn’t define this video as a heartless approach to getting a message out. I, for one, prefer sharing this warning (even at the risk of stepping on toes) rather than living with regret that may one day affect those I care about.

    Just like my sister said during the final days of her life: “I have nothing to show for the tan I worked so hard to have — nor will I on the day I am buried. What a waste.” Remembering her words causes me to think… How important will texting (while driving) be if you or some innocent life is lost and changed forever because the “need” to do it just couldn’t wait?

  27. sherry says:

    I thought it was great and maybe they should show this in taking your driver’s test. Because the then the young driver’s would see it and maybe think twice about doing it while they drive. My daughter tests while she is driving and it scares me to death and she it 29 and I don’t know how they do it and drive.
    thank you Dr. Phil

  28. Nicole says:

    I wish someone would do a psa like this but on suicide. Tonight is the second night in a row that I’ve seriously contemplated taking that route; something like this video could maybe deter me from doing it, maybe. I’m scared and alone and confused and I don’t know what to do.

  29. Tina Baker says:

    I showed the video to both of my nieces this afternoon. One of them watched as she wiped tears from her cheeks. The other just sat and shook her head. They asked if I would send it to their Facebook pages so they could show their friends.

    Yes, it is a very “real” video but so are the consequences for texting while driving. Teenagers sometimes feel as though they are invincible and this only helps to remind them that life is too short and can come crashing down around them with one wrong move (or typed word).

  30. Tina Baker says:

    Nicole, I hope you are still on Dr. Phil’s site and can see my comment.

    Honey, I wish I could reach out to you and help. Please know that you are not ever alone, there is someone that can listen to you and give you guidance, or love, or a hug, or simple tell you that IT WILL BE OKAY. I promise. Nothing in this world is too scary to step over, we just sometimes need someone to hold our hand. I am praying for you right now.

    Nicole, there have been many, many times in my life when I have been confused and felt alone or just overwhelmed with all of the stuff that weighs down on us. Tomorrow the sun will come out, I promise, and if it doesn’t you can still get through this storm.

    Dr. Phil has many sites that can help you at Drphil.com. If you cannot find them then you email me, my dear, and I will help you find some help. Please don’t harm yourself, God has great plans for you even if you cannot see them. I sometimes wonder where my plans are. The road I am on can get bumpy and I don’t like bumps but the road always gets smooth again.

    Hang on and don’t let go. Suicide is not a choice for you!

  31. Tina Baker says:

    you can get through this Nicole!

  32. Mona says:

    As gory as it was, the message hits home. Makes me think about “what am I doing while I’m driving?”. I wish we would stop worrying about whether the message is going too far, will we offend someone etc…We seem to be concerned with the “message” being too sensitive. This is what happens…this is real life. Let’s not sugar coat everything. Let’s say it the way it is, and help each other.

  33. Paradoxis says:

    Nicole, I totally agree with you that a PSA like this but about suicide would be a very, very good thing.

    More importantly, I also want to tell you that when attempted suicide fails – and I can’t tell you how often it does – the results can be so much worse than what you’re going through right now. I can PROMISE you this.

    I see you. You are not alone, even though it feels like it. I know you’re scared and confused – I’ve been there too. Please, please, call someone and talk to them. Be it a friend, family, or a total stranger on a help line. You don’t have to suffer like this. There are people who care and can offer solutions and support to get you through this.

    I care, and I’m very glad you posted.
    Be safe,

  34. Linda Johnson says:

    Too graphic? Not by a long shot. Unfortunately this is reality. My 16 yo daughter will be getting her license in 10 days. She texts constantly at home. Our rule for her when she is driving is the phone must be OFF. She knows we will be checking online while she is in the car. If there is any activity during her driving, she loses the car…simple as that. I will have her watch this a few times. Thanks Dr. Phil for posting this. I’m sure it was a hard call whether or not rto post. You made the right decision.

  35. Kathy says:

    Hi Dr Phil
    I worked for 19 years in a rehab hospital in Melbourne Australia that specialised in road accident victims. Nothing is to graphic if it saves 1 person not only from death but the real victims of road accidents are often the survivors who can no longer dress feed or even toilet themselves.
    I believe repeat offenders should be forced to spend time with some of these survivors and then see how they choose to drive in the future.


  36. F.D says:

    Looks like most people don’t find it to graphic and neither do I. We have a lot of similar ads in australia.

    I’m 30 and althoug I have my learners and can drive I’m hesitant too because you never know what idiot your going to come across on the road. I hate it when the driver eats and drives its just as bad as texting. What cant wait a few mintues until you reach your destination.

    Tere my son is also special needs kid, his ten and when I can I still seat him in a booster and you can also buy a harness, which makes it more difficult for the child to reach for and get out of, but then again my son is a bit too small for his age. You should be able to make modifications. If you know someone that his skillful with there hands then maybe make something to over the seatbelt realise botton, you can also use a harness without the booster

  37. I don’t think it is graphic enough. I think that a new phase to recieving drivers licenses should be a mandatory perusal of accident scenes due to cell phone use, drinking, etc., you know, lock people in a small dark room with a huge video screen flashing millions of images of what happens when you text and drive.

  38. Jennifer says:

    I’ve seen this message before. It does send a very strong message to people about texting & driving. I don’t think it’s to graphic at all. Teenagers who are just learning how to drive in my opinion should be required to watch this. If it saves even one life it’s worth it.


  39. Lisa says:

    I’m from Australia, and I don’t think this is too graphic at all. Sometimes the only things that get through are the truly horrific. Better it be this than in reality.

    And Nicole, my heart just goes out to you. I know what it is to feel that way, but I promise, it always passes. I hope you are OK. And I hope you found someone to talk with. Not sure if America has helplines to call, but even a stranger with a friendly voice on the end of a phone, will help get you through a long desperate night. And please, seek help this way, and with a counsellor in the light of day.


  40. Catharine says:

    Me and my 18yr foster son saw it in Argentina. Just got his license… all he said was ” THAT IS CRAZY” but i tihnk deep inside he got a message, plus a friend of his killed a drunk man in a car recently..REALITY! I thought it was well done. Great wake up call FOR US ALL!!! Teenagers watch parents!!! We are JUST as guilty as teenagers! WE need to take responsibility!!! WE NEED to stop texting,calling etc. while driving!

  41. About Time says:

    I think the real results of any tragedy needs to be shown. Many people don’t realize what really happens and how traumatic it is for everyone involved.

  42. Tina says:

    Definitely NOT over the top! Everyone needs to see this!

  43. LISA FROM VA says:


  44. Amazing video that I think IS good idea to show in auditorium of schools for students of driving age. Not only that… have class discussion about afterwards in Emotional and Life Skill Education K-12 DAILY classes of age appropriate topics like this for driving age. Plus, in driving schools since adults do too.


    I’d show on Dr. Phil Show too if okay with network as adults are doing too and even famous folks. When I see people talking about texting while driving on twitter I send them a tweet saying to tune of song, “LETS GIVE EM SOMETHING TO TALK ABOUT. TALKIN BOUT tRYAN NOT TWEETING WHILE DRIVIN.” First, to see famous folks cavalier about encourages those who look up to to do too and second might save their life and, as we saw, others’ lives.

    1, 2, 3, 4, how to save my life and yours

    1 Don’t drink & drive
    2 Don’t text or piddle & drive
    3 Don’t cell phone & drive
    4 Don’t too sleepy drive

    Also, changing dial on radio or CD’s etc. Once some teens were driving me to my home town since I was homesick and driver began adjusting radio. We flipped on side of car skidding down I-35 with everyone praying and by a miracle flipped back over onto wheels. Everyone else besides myself had never prayed before yet did that night. To this day I don’t see how we flipped back over onto wheels yet I’m sure glad we did and didn’t end up in an event like in video. Has me counting my blessings. An ounce of prevention IS not only worth a pound of cure and can save more than one life: yours, mine and ours. …And could have saved theirs. Think it can’t happen to you? Think again.

    Twitter handle: SEAangels14

  45. Erin & Marty says:

    I don’t think so.
    Our daughter, Katherine, said: “Mom, THAT would NEVER happen to me!”

    When I am passenger while is Katherine driving, I am terrified!
    Katherine’s thinks we are go wayyyy over the top trying to drive home messages.

    Unfortunately, some people need field experiments instead of the lecture or lab work.

    Many studies are being produced for TV showing how poorly we drive while distracted.

    Marty watched one last night about road rage (he is a bit guilty). Marty learned something because the man discussing his road rage problems was real and so similar to Marty’s own experiences, i.e. the person in front of you is driving too slow, so you tailgate…

    I am completely embarrassed to admit that I did have an accident six years ago while talking on the phone (my fault too).

    Cars are lethal weapons when used improperly! Maybe we should all make more noise about safe driving.

    Be Careful,

  46. tootooold says:

    sometimes you have to hit that mule with a 2by4 to get his attention (old joke)

  47. Brad says:

    Maybe you should show it to the young lady you had on your show a while back who had had four accidents in the four months she had had her license and said she was “good at it”.

    I’d like to know her response to the video.

  48. Janet Davies says:

    Excellent PSA! People need to see the reality of what can happen if they text while driving. It takes only a second to look away from the road and BAM! When I see a texting driver, I honk my horn to get their attention then I point to my eyes and then the road. God help the texter that hits me with my kids in the car. Their cell phone is TOAST! MY daughter is 16 and just got her license so I gave her the “use of cell phone while driving lecture” but if I catch her texting while driving, her cell phone is GONE! I will also make sure her and her friends see this PSA. Trust the sensible, logical Brits for opening our eyes.

  49. Janet Davies says:

    I just read your post Nicole. Life can be scarey at times but then there are those times we wouldn’t miss for the world and its good to be here. God loves you and you are precious in his sight. If you need a friend in times of darkness you can call on me if you want. I’m a good listener.

  50. Rob says:

    A great PSA!! The greatest way to get people to change their behavior is to scare them.

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