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8/26/2009
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Graphic U.K. Video Targets Texting While Driving

The video shows happy texting-while-driving teens getting into a violent car crash.

A British video uses a graphic car-crash re-enactment to draw attention to the potentially tragic consequences of texting while driving.

The public service announcement made by the police department in Gwent, Wales, last summer for $20,000 was posted on YouTube and seen by more than 1.5 million people, CBS News reported Wednesday. The slick production is meant to shock motorists into putting down their mobile phones.

"Yes it is violent, but the reality of a fatal road accident is much more gruesome, is much more violent," writer-director Peter Watkins Hughes told CBS News. "My position on this is that if you are old enough to drive, if you are old enough to want to drive, you are old enough to be aware of the real and serious risks one places yourself in every time you get behind the wheel."

The video opens with three giggling teenage girls in a car with the driver texting just before the car slams head-on into another vehicle. After the first collision, the girls' car is broadsided by another automobile.

When the accident is over, the camera shows all three of the girls bloodied. One is crying, the other two appear dead. An infant shown in another vehicle involved in the accident also appears dead, and a girl in a third car is heard calling to her parents who also may have been killed.

The hard-line approach taken by the film's producers sparked a tremendous amount of discussion on the Web about the dangers of texting and driving. A study released in July by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute found that the practice increased the risk of a crash over 23 times for truck drives and is equivalent to "traveling the length of a football field at 55 mph without looking at the roadway."

Lawmakers in Congress have introduced legislation that would make states ban texting while driving or face reductions in federal high funds. Fourteen states have already banned sending messages while driving, but authorities acknowledge that such bans can be difficult to enforce.

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