Don't Date and Drive

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Jeremy Lott draws America's attention to these ads, produced by the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia and intended to get drivers off the hooch. SPOILER ALERT: The spokespeople all die in car crashes. But you could have guessed that, as the "ohmigod did that pothead just run over somebody" school of advertising is practically reaching its blue period. The really funny part is that the spokespeople all deserve it. Check out ad #2 in particular. The driver is doing just fine, liver pounding away at its daily work, but the girlfriend/wife in his passenger seat is nagging him. It's her distraction that both averts her attention from the passenger window and prevents him from noticing a huge-ass truck barrelling down on them like the T-Rex in The Lost World.

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  1. The third one doesn’t even make sense, because they’re on foot. I mean, I suppose SOMEONE may have been drinking and driving, but we can’t be sure, now can we?

  2. And who hits the guy on the park bench in the third ad? I see a little silver car spin out to the other side of the street, then an SUV drive in front of the camera, but neither car comes within 20 feet of the guy. He just seems to start flying through the air spontaneously.

  3. Maybe the park bench he was sitting on was on top of a teeter totter. It’s hard to tell. Also, the guy starts talking faster, like he knows he’s running out of time, just before the SUV hits him.

    As for the site’s noting that focus groups preferred realism, those ads looked less realistic than “Toonces the Driving Cat”.

  4. Ads promoting safe behaivior are more effective than legislation. The possibility of getting busted does not seem to be a deterrent. Maybe the possibility of getting your girlfriend killed will.

  5. Ads promoting safe behaivior are more effective than legislation. The possibility of getting busted does not seem to be a deterrent. Maybe the possibility of getting your girlfriend killed will.

  6. The second ad would have been more persuasive if the truck had come from the other direction. The way it was shot, the annoying wife took most of the damage. Best case scenario: she dies, he lives, and does at most a couple of years in prison. That’s not a cautionary tale. It’s a great idea.

  7. I thought the ads were effective & effectively graphic without being gory.

  8. Yeah, I never realized that drinking and driving could get myself and others killed or injured. Thank God I stumbled upon these commercials to straighten me out!

    Disclosure: These ads were privately funded and produced, so they have the right to waste their money as much as they want. For those of you playing the H&R drinking game, that means you can drink now, unless you’re going to be driving soon.

  9. The really funny part is that the spokespeople all deserve it.

    Oh, come on. That’s a pretty silly stretch, much less funny.

    That said, these are ripe for parody. I’d love to see an ad with a gruesome crash, then an ominous voice saying “did you know the vast majority of crashes that result in injury or death are caused by sober drivers? End sober driving, now!”

  10. Why is a totally sober person sitting in the passenger seat? And how could anybody drive being nagged like that?

  11. Now that I have actually watched the ads, I have to conclude that they are pretty good.

    I watched the minivan ad first, and it startled the crap out of me.

    We may already “know” on an intellectual level that drinking and driving is risky — but don’t underestimate the behavior-modfication value of a graphic image that stays with you.

    Case in point: As a novice driver, I was pretty conscientious about seat-belt use. In my 20s, I started to slack off. Seat-belts are slightly uncomfortable and feel restricting. So I gradually stopped using them. I knew that increased my risk of injury, but…

    Then one winter day on the highway I saw a car hit a patch of ice, slide into the highway median and, to make a long story short, become airborne. I was one of the people who pulled over to try to help out the driver. She was in shock, and appeared to have a broken jaw. That didn’t look too great. Two little kids were in the back seat, unbelted, and miraculous unhurt, but very scared.

    I don’t even know whether the driver was wearing her seatbelt at the time of the accident, or whether it would have kept her face from hitting the steering wheel or dashboard or whatever it was that broke her jaw.

    But I’ve been a very fastidious seat-belt wearer ever since.

  12. Yes…the chick in the second flick was strangely reminiscent of Sarah Silverman’s shrewish gilrfriend from School of Rock.

    Still, this hostility for reducing drunken driving by some of Libertarianisms more absolutist followers has always stuck me as pretty idiotic…and asinine.

  13. I live in British Columbia, and I think the ads are good.

  14. Now let’s cross this idea with Radley Balko’s Overkill and create an ad in which the spokesperson talks about the importance of the Fourth Amendment only to be killed at the end by a botched SWAT raid.

  15. WindyP,

    Now THAT’s an idea I could get behind

  16. a huge-ass truck barrelling down on them like the T-Rex in The Lost World.

    Ugh, horrible movie. All I remember is laughing at that disembodied hand’s ability to close the doors of the T-Rex cage on that boat.

  17. i’ld much rather have these ad’s repeared over and over than more legislation —

    then again, i don’t own a TV

  18. I’d rather have nightsticks shoved up my ass over and over again than have more legislation, but maybe I’m not typical.

  19. I think the ads are pretty good – if I wasn’t warned, I would have been totally shocked. The minivan one was especially good. And the chick reminded me of “Jenny” from “The L Word”.

  20. Most commercials leave me wanting to know what happens afterward.

    Like, when do we see the drivers complain “Why the hell does she always make me drive??? She knows I like to drink, and it doesn’t seem like SHE’S DRINKING!

    I also want to see the ads showing the dangers of playing with hot beverages between your legs while driving….

    …and not using your turn signal. I mean, people get killed over that shit!

  21. “Walking” was fantastic. One of the funniest things I’ve seen on the internet for a while, and totally disconnected from its theme. That’s what makes it funny. That and the way that guy flies through the air due to some apparently totally random car accident which appears to have more to do with misdirected stunt drivers than drunk drivers.

    Still, this hostility for reducing drunken driving by some of Libertarianisms more absolutist followers has always stuck me as pretty idiotic…and asinine.

    Drunk driving is not funny, but “drinking & driving” is not the same, is it?

    “After 17 hours [without sleep], they were about as impaired as they were with an alcohol level of 0.05 percent, which many Western countries define as legally drunk.”

    -From some Australian study that I don’t have the patience to find the details on.

    Point being twofold:
    Impairment is the problem, not consumption
    and
    17 hours without sleep is the same as 0.05 BAC?! I sleep 5-7 hours a day. Am I always impaired? Thank God my wife has always driven home if I have had more than one drink. Now I see that neither should ever drive unless we’ve had our naps.

  22. It’s been a long time since I drank and drove, but why are these guys taking corners at a high enough speed to squeal the tires? Back in the day, I would always drive VERY slowly and carefully when I’d been drinking, just to be sure I didn’t get pulled over. I was probably a safer driver then.

  23. Only murderers listen to Limp Bizkit without regret.

  24. …and not using your turn signal. I mean, people get killed over that shit!

    Yes, they deserved to die, and I hope they burn in hell!

    Use your turn signals, motherfuckers — don’t make me try to guess what you’re going to do! Turn signal, motherfucker! Do you speak it?

  25. Ads promoting safe behaivior are more effective than legislation. The possibility of getting busted does not seem to be a deterrent.

    Several people have spoken out against legislation on this thread.

    I’m a lot safer since Switzerland lowered the limit from 0.8 to 0.5 milligrams per millilitre.

    A vigourously enforced law forbidding talking on the phone while driving is something I’d support, too. Probably because I got back-ended by a guy talking on his phone.

  26. “Disclosure: These ads were privately funded and produced, so they have the right to waste their money as much as they want.”

    Wrong crimethink.

    The Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) is a state owned monopoly insurance provider. I know… I lived there for 5 years.

    However, in this case, gov’t insurance worked to my benefit. Because it’s state owned, it can’t use the typical characteristics of age, gender and marital status to establish premiums. So as a 22 year old, single, male, I paid the same insurance rates as a 40 year old, married, female with a similarly clean driving history.

    I’m not saying that’s fair, because I was still a higher risk (my car was frequently broken into), but I didn’t mind being judged on my driving record instead of my gender for a change.

    I live in Ontario now, so I’m back to being punished for being male.

  27. These ads to show no connection between the assumed drunkeness of the driver and the actions that lead up to the incident, so I’m not really sure how this is supposed to convince us of anything. Not only that, but compared to the ads we get over here, they seems pretty tame. The walking one was actually pretty funny with the Monty Python style arrival out of nowhere of a car. Maybe they shoud have just had him squashed by a giant foot had done with it.

    Sample UK anti-drink-driving ad for comparision.

    Here’s a pretty good non-shocking one paid for by a beer company as part of their Christmas TV ad campaign.

  28. It’s her distraction that both averts her attention from the passenger window and prevents him from noticing a huge-ass truck barrelling down on them like the T-Rex in The Lost World.

    I knew this guy once who got all distracted because his wife was giving him a blowjob while he drove, and he ended up hitting an old gypsy woman who put a curse on him that eventually killed his entire family. Driving while distracted is no joke, people, and it’s damned irresponsible to pretend it is.

  29. Impairment is the problem, not consumption

    I’ve heard this nonsense for a while, too. It’s wrong.

    As an ex-bartender and EMT, the problem is that a large number of people who’ve consumed to impairment are flat unable to determine that they’re impaired.

    You can trust everyone’s own analysis of their own level of impairment to guide their actions if you want to. You might even be right much of the time.

    Experience gives me a different perspective.

  30. Still, this hostility for reducing drunken driving by some of Libertarianisms more absolutist followers has always stuck me as pretty idiotic…and asinine.

    it would be nice to see a cost benifit anylysis done with the tax payer paid price of these ads and the actual drop in drunk driving….libertarian don’t like thier money going out of their wallets to programs that have negligable effects.

    isn’t your argument the same argument for publicly funded health care?

  31. The 3rd ad I cant follow at all. I thought the person with the camera was supposted to be drunk and he got hit because he walked in front of a car.

    Most drunk people talk alot.

    I think the first ones would have been more effective if the annoying women were not saying anything.

  32. “I’m a lot safer since Switzerland lowered the limit from 0.8 to 0.5 milligrams per millilitre.

    A vigourously enforced law forbidding talking on the phone while driving is something I’d support, too. Probably because I got back-ended by a guy talking on his phone”

    maybe you think you’re safer when people w/ a bac of 0.5 who are probably comatose are on the road. usually anybody w/ a bac of 0.8 would be dead hence unable to drive.
    i agree we should ban talking on the phone in the car; its so damned distracting! we should also ban (in automobiles) all talking to passengers, eating, and adjusting the radio and climate controls, because last week my car was hit by this guy who was sipping his latte and chatting with his friends on the highway.

  33. the first ad doesn’t really emphsize to me that he was drunk, just driving too fast around corners with apparently an annoyed, but not particularly worried girl.

    the second ad if the girl hadn’t been talking, i’d have assumed the truck barreling down was the drunk driver.

    the third ad i had no idea what was going on.

    yes, i could assume for the sake of argument that all of the drivers were drunk, and bad things happen when drunk people drive, but other than appearing tragic, they didn’t hit the message they were trying for particularly well.

    I thinking drinking and driving laws are fine the way they are. But people should not be pulled over randomly for BAC tests. Satisfactory control of a vehicle should be enough to not be hassled.

    In any case, I’ve seen better commercials for drunk driving

  34. it would be nice to see a cost benifit anylysis done with the tax payer paid price of these ads and the actual drop in drunk driving

    What would be the point? If it proved that it did, Libertarians would just argue that the science was flawed or that the researchers have an agenda bias. You know, the same tricks they use to deny global warming and the effects of smoking.

    Besides, I don’t think anyone expects one single ad campaign to have a major impact on drunk driving. As with most efforts these days, campaigns like this are (or should be) part of a larger strategy involving several methods for raising awareness and affecting societal change.

    libertarian don’t like thier money going out of their wallets to programs that have negligable effects.

    Actually, libertarians don’t like any effort to impact or limit a person’s ability to excercise personal freedom under any circumstances. Money is just one of many rationales to justify it.

    Facts are, even if the program had results, a libertarian wouldn’t like the money coming out of their wallets.

    isn’t your argument the same argument for publicly funded health care?

    Nope. Publicly funded health care seeks to rally taxpayers and their dollars around the goal of providing medical care to everyone including an increasingly larger population unable to afford market-based increasing expensive care.

    Publicly funded programs to decrease drunk driving seek to rally taxpayers and their dollars around the goal of keeping some judgement-impaired dumbass from having a negative impact on other (assumedly) less judgement-impaired folks.

    It’s also a lot less expensive than publicly funded health care with results that are easier to measure.

  35. Sample UK anti-drink-driving ad for comparision.

    “Drink-driving”? Boy, they just have to be different 🙂

  36. Impairment is the problem, not consumption

    I’ve heard this nonsense for a while, too. It’s wrong.

    But, madpad, you don’t go on to disagree with me, rather you state that people often don’t realize their level of impairment. Your observations of drinkers ring true with me, too. I don’t think that creeping down the BAC limit solves this problem, or, if it does, it is a draconian measure.

  37. Actually, highnumber, I did disagree with you in that impairment is not the problem…inability to judge ones own impairment and make a sound decision based on that is the problem.

    I don’t think that creeping down the BAC limit solves this problem, or, if it does, it is a draconian measure.

    I hear this a lot. Facts are, numerous studies (all hotly debated by Libertarian-types as bad, poor science, whatever) show significant reductions in drunk driving incidents and deaths due to increased enforcement of folks driving with over-the-limit BAC.

    I will agree with you insamuch as reduction is not a solution AND it is a draconian measure – which makes for a high potential of abuse. I am open to better ideas.

    Most of the libertarian-type folks who complain about the attempts to reduce this problem by enforcement are way short on solutions. Hell, many will even debate that a problem exists at all.

    I have no patience for that lunacy. If you can offer some ideas that don’t rely solely on trusting the potential drunk driver to unfailingly assess their level of impairment AND their reaction time every single time, I’m all for it. Anyone who thinks this is possible, BTW, has never seen drunk person before…or at least has never tried to get one in denial to give up their car keys. So I ask, got any ideas?

    Until I hear a better idea – which I have yet to hear from anyone on this thread ot the past ones regarding this issue – I don’t see much of an alternative to the current solution.

  38. madpad,

    …inability to judge ones own impairment and make a sound decision based on that is the problem

    I still don’t think we are disagreeing. I said that I see the same inability to judge one’s own impairment in drinkers also, but

    studies show significant reductions in drunk driving incidents and deaths due to increased enforcement of folks driving with over-the-limit BAC

    this doesn’t address what a reasonable BAC limit is.

    I’m sure someone else here could find some argument to show that drunk driving should not be a crime, that it should be reckless driving, blah, blah, blah…, but I’m not arguing that. When BAC limits are lowered to .05, and studies are telling us that 17 hours without sleep is the equivalent of .05 BAC, I wonder why there is no more reasonable scale for impairment.

  39. Hey, highnumber, I’m with ya’ there. But a lot of very smart people as well as a lot of folks who’d probably just as soon dump BAC in favor of something better & more reliable haven’t come up with a better solution.

    I don’t know what a reasonable limit is any more than you do (unless, of course, you do know). I’m going on the only data I (or most anyone else, it would seem) has.

    Right now, all we have are studies linking BAC to average levels of impairment and reaction time. On that basis, we have a factor for evaluating impairment that takes it out of the subjective and attempts to give a scientifically-based, somewhat objective measure based on countless studies involving decades of research.

    I’ve never said the current system is perfect or even good. But it’s better than subjective impressions. And the current system has had an impact and reduced accidents and death and arguably prevented some as well.

    Find something better that works and I’ll cheer you on.

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