BY JANE McINNIS
In a campaign waged by AT&T to put a stop to texting and driving, German filmmaker Werner Herzog, known for his obscure films, (Grizzly Man, Fitzcarraldo) created a documentary that takes an honest and painful look at the subject.
The haunting 35-minute film, called "From One Second To The Next" has nearly 2.5 million views since being posted in August.
"I'm not a participant of texting and driving — or texting at all — but I see there's something going on in civilization which is coming with great vehemence at us," Herzog said in an article that appeared in The Atlantic.
The film visits different areas of the country, giving voice to both victims and those who caused the often-fatal accidents by texting at the wheel.
It begins with a story of a brother and sister who were crossing a street in 2010 in Milwaukee when driver, texting, sped through a stop sign and into the 5-year-old boy.
"I had my brother in my hand. All of the sudden my hand was empty," said the boy's older sister, who was 13 at the time of the accident.
Her brother, Xzavier, who wanted to be a football player, lost his legs. He lives on life-support with a ventilator that breathes for him.
The film also recounts an accident that killed three people from an amish community in Indiana. The driver recalls texting before he struck a family riding in a horse-drawn buggy, killing three people.
Over 100,000 accidents a year involve drivers who are texting, the film explains from the onset.
A shocking reality is the film's focus on how much can happen in a second.
Using simple math, one could figure that if you're traveling in a car at 40 mph, in a second you cover nearly 60 feet. That means if a driver takes her eyes off the road to look at her phone for three seconds, she will have traveled 180 feet.
The margin of error is pretty large for such a distance, said Danville Police Chief Steve Simpkins.
Simpkins explained that the numbers of accidents caused by texting isn't clear because many drivers at fault don't admit they were using their phone.
California law prohibits all drivers from texting or using handheld cell phones, unless they employ a hands-free device. Many drivers blinded by the tie to their phones can't seem to kick the habit.
In 22 days in August, 74 citations were issued for cellphone use (and this just covers drivers who are using their cellphones in plain sight).
The film was supported by AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile, urging young and old drivers the simple message that, "no message is so urgent that it is worth diverting attention from the road and risking lives in the process."
What do you think? Should more drivers watch this film? Leave your thoughts in a comment.
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