Dad Drives His Daughter’s Friends Home And What Happens Next Will Open Your Eyes
Here we see the driver who is a father and husband. The child in the photograph is not his boy and this story as a disturbing twist. We all know the scenario; dad is driving his daughter and friends to the local yogurt shop and the wife calls. Dad is thinking of the kids in the back of course so he parks to answer. Does everyone do that when they are alone in the car?
Here we see scenario number one in play. Daddy is behind the wheel as his young daughters and friend share some giggles in the back. This is the start of a PSA that has been running on television. After greeted by dad and the young girl we come to understand he is driving them to the pool. During the trip we cut back to mom at home as she has come to notice that their puppy “Muffin” has escaped.
We are now right back in the front seat with papa when the cell phone rings. We can see it is mom calling who is worried about Muffin. Dad is conscious of the young lives in the back. He feels a responsibility for the kids and ignores the call. He only answers after he is parked safely by the swimming pool.
Mom is again seen looking frantic. Where could poor muffin be now? Mom explains she does not have time to look for the dog and he must do the searching. It is an emergency, yes, but it definitely was worth waiting to answer the phone. They do not want to add another emergency to the list.
Now the kids are out of the car and off swimming. Dad does not want to ruin their afternoon swimming so he decides not to inform them about little Muffin. Now the phone rings again and while the father is mindful, he isn’t as careful now that he does not see kids in the backseat he is responsible for. But this is when it takes a surreal twist.
Suddenly there is the voice of a young boy that startles the viewer. He asks, “Was that Janie’s Mom?” His sudden appearance and the dad’s reaction startle the viewer, yet he replies. “Who are you?” The father assumed he was alone.
We now see the boy, a young innocent boy about 6 or so. He tells the father his name is Justin and needs a ride home. The father eases up after they talk for some time. It turns out he is friends with a daughter of the father. The father cannot identify him yet he starts to drive him home.
The dad spots a soccer ball in the boy’s hands and uses that to make more small talk. The father tells the boy how he used to love soccer when he was his age. Already they are establishing a rapport and the father is almost completely at ease. They go on to talk more soccer and it is then when things get freaky.
The boy asks who Muffin is, as if psychic. Still not too perturbed the father answers him and tells him Muffin is the family dog. The phone now begins to ring and the boy continues to glare at the father. “Do you want to answer that?”
The father is still carefully scanning the road while he answers the boy. “No, never with a kid in the car.” And the boy retorts with a message that will rings louder in a second, “That’s okay. I’m not here.” The dad looks back and he is not fooling with him, the boy is gone and the father is alone.
Now the phone rings once more and the father feels free to answer now that he is alone. There are no youngsters for him to look out for, or so he thinks. We hear the boys voice again with a simple “I’m there” before he runs into the road. Horror ensues as the distracted father drives right into him. The viewer can only hear the screeching of the tires, leaving what happens next to the darkest realms of the viewer’s imagination.
The name of this PSA is appropriately entitled “The Unseen” as its point is that you are always a danger to potentially anyone when on the road. No one is out of site and out of mind. The official message left by the company is, “you are never alone on the road. Distracted driving is never okay.” The hope is that this video will have people think hard about their choices on the road and reach even those who think they are doing everything right.
This whole campaign has been running for several years now. With the rise in cell phone related accidents, the message must be delivered. There are accidents happening almost daily due to people being distracted by their phones while driving. The person at fault is sometimes not the only victim. Here is a still from another PSA that came out a couple years ago which depicts a horrible accident which was caused by a mother momentarily distracted by her phone.
While early PSA’s worked more on using fear and using footage of accidents to scare drivers this newer PSA is more psychological and makes people think more about their premeditated choices. This PSA was based on research that was made that people who would call themselves responsible actually let their guard down when they are alone in the car. As we can see in the PSA, no one is ever alone on the road.
Sandra Howard is the Assistant VP of Advertising at AT&T. She went on to explain the latest PSA, “But those same people will actually have no issue driving distracted when they are alone. When you’re alone, you almost feel like you’re in a bubble and you don’t think you’re putting anyone in danger.” Those behind the wheel must realize how much danger they could bring inside and outside the vehicle.
There have been studies behind the thought process behind those who ignore the statistics and continue to be a risk. Those who defy the rules believe they are an exception and can handle it. It always seems nothing bad could happen until it does. People will do it once or twice when they feel they have to and before they know it becomes habit. The point of the PSA is to break this nonsense these types of drivers shield themselves with.
“Close to Home” on the other hand is just as affective while not being so tricky. It is raw and gritty, but it is reality. Frederic Planchon, an acclaimed filmmaker, is the director of this PSA. The whole point of the video was to really force people to see the horrors that result from this negligence. It is brutal but it is meant to be.
German film legend Werner Herzog also has contributed to this movement. Herzog created a 35 minute docu-film which features people who have been affected by those texting while driving. The film talks to people on both sides of the tragedy; families of the victims as well as those who suffer the guilt of causing the accidents. For some people not being on the phone while driving is only important because you might get a measly ticket and those are the people who do not understand how serious this problem is.
The campaign looks to be promising so far and already data shows that people are changing their habits after viewing the films. In fact numbers show that 30 percent of those who have seen the videos have changed their habits and as many as 10 million have signed the “It Can Wait” pledge. While that does not promise anything, as humans are fickle beings, it does show people are becoming aware. It is a steep road to climb and many deaths will come still but the more people are educated the farther we will come and more and more lives will be saved.
All of the stories in Herzog’s film are especially gut wrenching and heartbreaking. There is one story where a man playing on his phone crashed into a carriage, killing three Amish children. In another interview they speak to a promising athlete who was left crippled when a speeding car rammed right into him. All the drivers who caused the accidents in this film had something in common; they all thought they could text while driving.