The directors behind the video for Pharrell Williams’s hit song Happy have teamed up with THINK! for its latest road safety campaign, aimed at cutting the numbers of people killed or injured by drivers using mobile phones.
We Are From LA directed the new video, which will run online, in cinemas and on social media from today (Wednesday October 25).
It uses innovative filming, is shot in the style of a music video with an edgy soundtrack from celebrated musician Aphex Twin and numerous pink kittens to highlight how much drivers miss if they are distracted by looking at their handheld phone.
If a driver travelling at 30mph glances at their phone for just 2.3 seconds, they miss 100 feet of road – the length of a Boeing 737.
Jesse Norman, Road Safety Minister, said: “We have some of the safest roads in the world, but we are always looking at ways to make them even safer.
“But the awful truth is that tens of thousands of drivers are still flouting the law and endangering others by using a handheld mobile phone at the wheel.
“This eye-catching advert demonstrates how dangerous looking at your phone for just two seconds can be, and the devastating impact it can have on other road users.”
On March 1 2017 penalties for using a handheld mobile while driving were doubled to a £200 fine and six penalty points. Meaning drivers caught twice face a lengthy ban – which could also then lead to a £1,000 fine. While new drivers - those who have passed within the last two years - face having their licence revoked if caught just once.
More than 15,000 fines have been issued to drivers using a handheld phone since the new penalties were introduced.
Following the March THINK! campaign, awareness of the penalties increased by 89% and 47% of those that had seen the adverts said they were less likely to use their phone when driving as a result.
The approach is a break from the normal hard-hitting THINK! campaigns as it is proven to be more effective at influencing the target audience – those aged 17 to 34. This age group is three times more likely than over 35s to use a handheld mobile while driving. The current four-week campaign also includes two radio adverts.
THINK! is urging Android smartphone users to download the Car Mode app or if using an iPhone, its drive safe mode, which automatically detects when you’re driving, and silences incoming calls and messages.
RAC road safety spokesman Pete Williams said: “The RAC’s latest research reveals that the problem is still at epidemic proportions with a hard core of drivers persisting in texting, talking, tweeting and even taking photos at the wheel.
“We therefore welcome THINK!’s thought-provoking video, which highlights the dangers of a two-second glance at your phone while driving. Motorists risk a collision with potentially fatal consequences which could change their life, and the lives of others, forever.
“We hope that this will help persuade more drivers to put away their handheld mobile phone for good when driving and be phone smart.”
Chief Constable Anthony Bangham, National Police Chiefs’ Council Lead for Roads Policing, said: “Driving while distracted by a mobile phone is completely unacceptable and puts everyone on the roads at risk of serious harm. Police are making use of the tougher penalties to clamp down on this dangerous behaviour – but we have to be clear that when you get behind the wheel it is your responsibility to stay focused and alert.
“As this campaign makes clear, it only takes a few seconds of distraction to change lives forever.”
Directing duo We Are From LA are also the brains behind the Evian’s Babies as well as the current Samsung’s Galaxy S8 and Converse adverts.