Every once in a while, I see an untethered kid standing on a car seat – frequently in rush-hour traffic – and proceed to lose my rag, yelling at the idiotic driver to buckle up the child. The reaction varies from bewilderment to outright aggression, but here’s the thing: I shouldn’t allow this to stop me from intervening. Embarrassing though it may be, I’m morally obliged to make it my business.
A spirited conversation in the PM office over dumb behaviour (in the sense of reckless or even suicidal activities) produced some entertaining anecdotes, some of them relating to the celebrated Darwin Awards (honouring people who remove themselves from the gene pool in very interesting ways; check it out on Google). But more relevantly, we discussed the compelling videos produced by road safety and other organisations over the years – notably some classics from Australia.
One of our favourites, titled “Dumb ways to die”, is a public service announcement by Metro Trains in Melbourne that quickly went viral – and then some. If you missed it, take a look here Ad agency McCann said the video generated many millions in media value for a fraction of the cost of a conventional TV commercial. More significantly, though, Metro Trains revealed that it had contributed to a 30 per cent reduction in “near-miss” accidents.
We also liked a video commissioned by the US Navy in the interests of seatbelt awareness; it’s titled “Heaven can wait”, and we thought this one – employing a highly effective time-freeze technique – was no less punchy.
But the vote for the all-time best seatbelt commercial went to this classic, which rarely fails to bring tears to one’s eyes even after repeated viewing.