Editorial: Ad sends right message

By Shepparton News

In the past, a number of methods have been used in television commercials to try and get a road safety message across.

Some are designed to shock and therefore use graphic imagery and strong language in order to create the most impactful message.

Others are not so ‘‘in your face’’, but carry equally as important themes.

Judging their effectiveness in the overall context can be difficult, especially in light of a high number of lives lost already this year on Victorian roads.

This week, though, one particular commercial caught our eye with its nuanced approach.

The Transport Accident Commission (TAC) advertisement showed a man behind the wheel.

He became distracted by a mobile phone pinging, took his eyes off the road and diverted his attention to whatever his phone was trying to tell him.

His focus is taken away from the road for several seconds.

The man’s double then appears behind him in the back seat and covers his eyes, simulating what it means to become distracted and the potential consequences it carries.

In the campaign, the TAC focuses on the message that ‘‘when you’re on your phone, you’re driving blind’’.

It is a point that we say is impossible to argue with.

Texting or using apps while driving is a recipe for disaster and renders offending motorists unable to respond to something unexpected happening in front of them.

The TAC says that when travelling at 50km/h, even a two-second glance at one’s mobile phone means a motorist will be travelling blind for 28m.

At worst, the potential consequences are catastrophic not only for them, but other road users.

The penalties for breaking the law in this way while behind the wheel are hefty, and so they should be.

But the police cannot possibly be everywhere and detect every single offence, so it is up to all motorists to take responsibility for their behaviour.

Locking the mobile phone away in the glovebox or the boot while driving is far preferable to taking the risk.

It’s just not worth it.

The TAC’s Towards Zero campaign has, at its core, a time in the future where there is no deaths on our roads.

It is an ambitious target, but one that every road user must aspire to and play their part towards an outcome that one day becomes a reality.