Bam! The Pakistani Safe Driving PSA That Says It All

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It’s official. Safe driving PSAs made outside the U.S. are far, far better than anything you’ll find in a domestic media outlet. This latest example comes from The Frontier Post, an English language Pakistani news site.

The image, which appears to have been made by the newspaper’s advertising arm, is going viral on Twitter.

Meanwhile, the New Zealand anti-speeding commercial we featured last week is up to almost 7 million views on YouTube. So, perhaps the good news for Americans who are concerned about traffic safety is that messages as strong as these may no longer need a major media platform to reach a large audience.

  • Kevin Love

    I remain somewhat skeptical of the value of PSAs.

    In my opinion, the correct response is what is done in airline safety, railway safety, factory safety and everywhere else where safety is taken seriously and there are actual consequences for unsafe behavior.

    This response is one of mistake-proofing. Designing and engineering the infrastructure so that it is impossible to make mistakes in the first place. Or else to ensure that mistakes do not kill or injure anyone.

    When it comes to road safety, this is the Dutch method of Duurzaam Veilig, which translates as “Sustainable Safety.” Among other things, this requires that residential streets NOT be through streets for car drivers, but only for walking, cycling and public transit. Car drivers are kept away from cyclists routes. And car-free zones are implemented where there are too many human beings for car drivers to endanger. For example, the island of Manhattan.

    Scary car-crash films have been around ever since cars and cameras were invented. Their effectiveness has always been approximately zero. But Dutch streets are the safest in the world.

    Let’s go for what works, not for what doesn’t work

    In my opinion, the real value of these PSAs is not to directly influence behavior, but to generate the political capital needed to introduce the reforms that really will work.

  • Mark Walker

    NYC DOH’s grisly PSAs brought down the incidence of smoking in the city population. Doing the same for safe streets would be well worth a try. But for it to work, the PSAs would have to be hard hitting and frequently aired.

  • Upright Biker

    As a veteran adman, I can say that you are right on the money. A PSA alone will not do much, but is really meant to garner political momentum to enact laws with teeth to really change the undesirable behavior.

    Still, there is no other way to garner that political momentum without effective, emotional communications like this, so I think efforts like PSAs are in the end a valuable tool in the toolbox.

  • I’ll say this about PSAs….even though the U.S. is not brave enough to do ones that will have a dramatic effect, social media, the internet, Facebook, etc have made this almost moot. These days you can distribute the best/shocking/humorous/poignant/sobering ads thru blogs and social media for no cost. We just have to keep our base energized and sharing what they find.

  • JoshNY

    Did they? I mean, I know the incidence of smoking is down, but it seems incorrect to attribute that just to PSAs and not also to the various other initiatives they’ve taken.

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