New shock ad against texting and driving attacks smartphone addiction

The Quebec auto insurance board (SAAQ) has released a new shock ad campaign to warn drivers about the dangers of texting behind the wheel.

Most Quebecers know the dangers of texting, but can't help themselves, SAAQ says

A frame from a new shock ad against texting and driving by the SAAQ. (SAAQ)

The Quebec auto insurance board (SAAQ) has released a new shock ad campaign to warn drivers about the dangers of texting behind the wheel.

The campaign, which goes by the slogan "Empêchez-vous" (Stop Yourself), will run until October 18. Its aim is to highlight the dangers of electronic addiction and the urge people feel to check their phones even when they know they shouldn't.

Most Quebecers know they shouldn't text while driving — as many as 99 per cent, Robert Poëti, the Quebec minister of Transport, said in a statement. Nevertheless, a "large proportion" of drivers can't hold back, he said.

The SAAQ recorded 66,660 infractions of texting while driving in 2014, a nearly sixfold increase since 2008.

The campaign includes two 30-second TV spots in French, radio spots in both languages, banners on buses and ads on websites. 

Watch both videos below

The SAAQ will also distribute stickers for drivers to put on their cars and will promote its mobile application (Android only) that blocks all incoming calls and text messages when the user is driving.

The TV ads show a man driving while texting. He looks at the camera and says, "I know I shouldn't do this, but I can't stop myself from texting."

It then cuts to a bruised and wounded young girl on the ground. She says, "I know my parents will be sad, but I can't stop myself from dying."

The driver then gets out of the car, sees the little girl behind him and appears distraught.

The second ad is similar, but with a female driver and an adult female victim.

This is the fifth campaign by the SAAQ against texting and driving. The board has released a campaign every year since 2011.

Texting while driving can carry a fine of $100 and four demerit points.


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