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New ad puts you in a scary distracted driving crash

Every moment of every day, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates, more than 600,000 drivers in the U.S. are using their cellphone behind the wheel. People in Pennsylvania and elsewhere continue to commit distracted driving, despite repeated pleas from experts and efforts by lawmakers to make this conduct illegal.

We have all seen public-service announcements on television urging viewers not to talk or text on their phones while driving, but a new spot from AT&T may reach a new level of directness and intensity.

The ad begins at the moment of impact between two vehicles on a suburban street. We watch as the scene slowly moves in reverse, until one of the drivers is seen with a phone in her hand, apparently open to a social media app.

The action returns to regular as we see the distracted driver’s young daughter in the back seat, while the mother is looking at her phone. Suddenly, the crash occurs again as a boy on a bicycle watches in horror. The collision is depicted as realistically as in an action film.

The executive director of the Governors Highway Safety Association called the ad “powerful,” and said it drives home the point that distracted driving can seriously hurt yourself and your family.

AT&T produced the announcement as part of its It Can Wait campaign. It is not clear from an article by ABC News when it will start running on TV.

Sometimes, academic studies and news articles are less effective in imparting information than a visceral image or video. Campaigns like this might eventually add up to finally get the message across that distracted driving causes car accidents, period.

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