It takes a lot for me to give up the opportunity to poke fun at something, especially when I'm on the air. So I'm sure listeners were surprised to hear me postpone the beginning of "What Were They Thinking?" this morning to talk about a video I saw on the "Today" show.
It is one of the most moving pieces of video I've seen in a long time.
Safety officials in Gwent, Wales, produced the video on the dangers of texting while driving, which has since has gone viral, attracting more than 1.5 million views on YouTube alone. They only showed a minute of the video because it is too graphic for American television.
It's no more graphic than most of the "action" movies out there and certainly in line with cable TV.
I think it should be required viewing every time a cell phone is sold.
I think everyone who uses the text function of their phone should have to watch it.
I think everyone who gets behind the wheel of a car should watch it.
I also think everyone who thinks they are invincible (yeah, kids, I'm getting preachy here) needs to watch it.
I'm the same reporter who helped her editor decided to run the picture of a teenager thrown from a car that rolled off the Antelope Valley freeway. The boy's face was hidden, but the caption indicated that he was dead.
My reasoning was that seeing that picture might make a kid think twice before getting into the car with a reckless driver. If we save just one kid, I told my editor, we've done our job.
The picture ran.
This video is four minutes long and it's four minutes that could change your life. I'll settle for it changing your behavior.
The video is a very realistic simulation, using very good actors and real crunched up cars and stage blood and lots of emergency vehicles and flashing red lights.
In fact, it reminded me a lot of the "Every 15 Minutes" program that our emergency responders put on at the high schools every year, except you see the cars crash and hear the horrifying stillness of the accident's aftermath - that is, until the texter starts to scream, realizing she's killed her friends just to find out that a boy has a crush on her.
It's already been compared to "Red Asphalt," "Mechanized Death" and all the other movies you have to watch in driver's training - and traffic school.
It's already against the law to use your cell phone while driving and texting is part of that prohibition.
It is graphic, that's for sure. Life is graphic and horrifying and faster than any wireless message, but if these four minutes can open your eyes, it's time well spent.
Do yourself a favor, though, when you get ready to watch it, because it's not easy.
Watch it WITH those you love, whether it's your teen driver, your text-crazy spouse, your co-worker who needs to slow down. They're going to see a powerful message that hopefully they won't forget.
And my hope is, neither will you.
Sit down. And put your cell phone aside. Texting While Driving (Very Graphic)