A video designed to warn UK teenagers about the dangers of texting while driving has become an Internet hit. The film, which has attracted more than six million viewers worldwide, tells the story of a fictional girl driver who is distracted for a few seconds while sending a text message.
The resulting accident, which causes the death of her friends and another couple, vividly shows heads going through windshields, bloodied bodies and the lifeless eyes of a baby.
As the number of real-life incidents involving text messages while driving increases, the practice has become a matter of public debate in Europe and the US.
Research by British motorists' group, the RAC Foundation, found that texting slowed young drivers' reaction times by 35 per cent, more than drugs or alcohol. A study of truck drivers released last month by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute found that texting increased the risk of collision by 23 times--significantly more than the increase from talking on a cell phone.
The director of the film, Peter Watkins-Hughes, made the 30-minute video for broadcast by the BBC later this year. However, he decided to release a four-minute version on the Internet which quickly attracted interest from around the world, and at one point it was the most viewed clip on YouTube.
"Texting while driving is a fairly new behaviour and this film aims to encourage people to modify their behaviour, making it socially unacceptable in the way that drink-driving is a social taboo," said Watkins-Hughes.
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