BMW fights texting while driving – Click above to watch video after the jump

BMW has unveiled a new campaign to help combat distracted driving. The German automaker is specifically focusing its efforts on curtailing texting while driving with a summer advertising campaign that kicks off this month and runs through the rest of the year. The company has worked up a few video spots that position images of over-protective parents against those who mindlessly text while driving. In addition to the commercials, BMW plans to run clever print ads that feature views from a distracted driver's position behind the wheel.

Finally, the carmaker will use ads to display large, bold lettering that spells out "Text messaging is very distracting" across participating web sites. The idea is that the jumping message will be infuriating enough to get the idea across.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has commended BMW for its efforts, and says that he hopes other automakers will follow the Roundel's lead in the near future. Hit the jump to check out the first video spot and to take a peek at the full press release.

Show full PR text
BMW Launches National Campaign Against Distracted Driving in Time for the Summer Driving Season

"Don't Text and Drive" Advertisements to Begin Appearing in June

Woodcliff Lake, NJ – June 1, 2011 ... BMW of North America today announced a national campaign comprised of television, print, online and radio advertising and a strong in-dealership message, all timed for the summer season and designed to raise awareness of the dangers of distracted driving. The campaign, themed "DON'T TXT & DRIVE - When the Engine Starts the Texting Stops," begins in early June and runs throughout the year.

"Distracted driving is an epidemic in America, and it has deadly consequences for thousands of people on our roads each year," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. "Putting a stop to these needless deaths, as well as hundreds of thousands of injuries, will require everyone to take personal responsibility for safe driving. I am grateful to BMW for their efforts to raise public awareness about distracted driving and for urging drivers to put down their phones and focus on the road. I hope that other automakers will follow their lead."

Television creative illustrates the contradiction between being an overprotective parent and the carelessness of texting while driving. The spot juxtaposes imagery of an overly cautious father bathing his son with the added protection of water wings and goggles, and a mother obsessively putting hand sanitizer on her child's hands; with the final scene pointing out how all of that can be undone in a second as a mother picks up her phone when a text message is received while her child is strapped into a car seat behind her. It closes with a scene of another car racing toward them before the mother looks up and realizes what is about to happen. The screen cuts to black and displays the tagline, "Your Family's Safety is in Your Hands. When the Engine Starts, The Texting Stops."

"Distracted driving of any kind, especially texting while driving, is an extremely dangerous activity that costs thousands of lives every year," said Jim O'Donnell, CEO, BMW of North America. "We developed this campaign to be impactful in hopes of evoking emotion and conveying the serious dangers of distracted driving and its potential consequences."

Variations of print advertisements feature views of the road from distracted drivers' perspective. In one, a texting driver's view of a young child running onto the street is obstructed by their smartphone. The only evidence of the child's presence is the outline of his shape and the ball he is chasing appearing on the phone as if the phone wasn't hiding him from view. Others obscure a deer in the road and truck turning in from a side street, suggesting the preoccupied driver is about to crash.

In online advertisements, the words "TEXT MESSAGING IS VERY DISTRACTING" appear in bold, block letters across the homepage of websites making it difficult to read and demonstrating how texting while driving interferes with a driver's field of vision.

At the BMW Performance Center in Spartanburg, South Carolina, the company's Teen Driving School has trained more than 3,000 young drivers over the last 10 years to help them safely and properly handle their vehicles. The program continues this year.

The DON'T TXT & DRIVE message will be incorporated in more than 100 teen driving schools conducted across the United States this year by the BMW Car Club of America Foundation.

BMW dealerships will feature printed materials, hangtags and static cling decals for display in vehicles and showrooms throughout the summer.

In December of 2010, as part of his initiative to meet with auto manufacturers on the subject of distracted driving, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood met with BMW of North America CEO Jim O'Donnell to discuss actions both organizations were taking. BMW was already active promoting Don't Text and Drive through its Teen Driving School, and was inspired to develop more comprehensive actions, including the advertising campaign.

U.S. Department of Transportation statistics show nearly 5.500 people died in crashes in 2009 involving a distracted driver, while the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found 87 percent of teen drivers admit to texting while behind the wheel. These statistics provided BMW with ample motivation to get behind this cause and develop the actions the company is now announcing.

As a leader in technology, BMW continues to use research and innovation to develop systems that enhance safety and convenience while further eliminating distraction.
For example, the company uses a method called pupilometry to define the movement of one's eye between information inside the vehicle and the car controls. This helps defines the placement of information to allow maximum attention on the road and the ability to monitor systems.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 3 Years Ago
      Yeah, I love how all these car companies are jumping on the anti distracted driver bandwagon, and yet these same companies tend to be the ones that install the most useless electronic gizmos that are a huge distraction in their cars. Hey, I love technology more than most, but I don't need all the stupid crap that car makers are putting into cars today. A steering wheel, a shifter, 3 pedals and a handful of controls is all I want.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Three pedals? You expect the typical suburbanite to know how to use three pedals? And move that troublesome lever back and forth? How can you eat, pick teeth, talk, pluck eyebrows, smack the kid, and look at the flier from the mall if you have to shift your car yourself? Quelle horreur.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Doesn't quite say enough. Should be more along the lines of: Don't use your phone at all and drive. Don't eat and drive. Don't drink and drive. Don't surf the web and drive. Don't read the paper and drive. Don't shave and drive. Don't do anything BUT drive.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Why that kitchen looks like a suv to me?
      • 3 Years Ago
      BMW is anti-texting, but they make you go through 12 iDrive menus to change the temperature of the AC. Hmmm.
        Jim R
        • 3 Years Ago
        I'm glad I'm not the only one who thought that.
        • 3 Years Ago
        I own a BMW with iDrive and have also driven my mom's Lexus and my sister's Infiniti, and both have touch screen along with numerous dash buttons. Having to see WHERE you press is way more distracting and takes your eyes off the road much more than iDrive. I've found that I can navigate through all of iDrive's menu while barely taking my eyes off the road, especially compared to some of the comparable systems coming out of Japan. iDrive's concept has carried over to Audi and Mercedes, also with much success.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Wait, don't they offer their cars with internet connectivity? That's not exactly a driver aid. Pot. Kettle. Black.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Okay I might get down rated for this so oh well but really... I'm very against those who text while driving. I see it every day I drive in and home from work. I would love to hit my brakes suddenly to scare them but I never have the nerve. Now, I get the point of this commercial but in my opinion they screwed up. Why would you show a T-Bone type of accident as the result of being distracted because of text messaging? Even if this person in the video was NOT distracted, they wouldn't be able to avoid the type of accident that occurs Even IF the woman was checking the rear view mirror on her kid like parents do, she still would have been hit. Why not show the distracted driver rear ending someone which is more likely. Again I get the point but they screwed up. Intelligent people will see the accident and say, 'That person would have been regardless"
        Shawn Chatman
        • 3 Years Ago
        She could have just ran a Stop sign, Yield sign, or ran a red because she was distracted.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Great effort by BMW. Empowering the end user is the key. I also decided to do something about distracted driving after my 3 year old daughter was nearly hit by a texting driver. I built a tool for teens (& adults) called OTTER that is a simple, GPS based, texting auto reply app for smartphones. It also silences call ringtones while driving unless you have a bluetooth enabled. I think if we can empower the individual then change will come to our roads right now. Erik Wood OTTER app
      • 3 Years Ago
      how would not texting avoid being t-boned?
        Tim Fox
        • 3 Years Ago
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Tim Fox
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Tim Fox
          She missed a stop sign due to the fact that she was texting. The whole point of the ad id to inform people that texting while driving is dangerous and could be deadly. So quit finding ways to twist the ad around just because you don't like the particular brand. Oh and " douche crossover" , what does that have to do with anything?
          You guy
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Tim Fox
          I'll have you know thats a Hyundai Santa Fe... "douche crossover" would be something like an X6...
      You guy
      • 3 Years Ago
      This photo says it all. B**ches in Bimmers texting while driving... They must have paid a visit to the Salt Lake valley.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @You guy
        The video says it different. Clearly not a Bimmer.
      Tim Fox
      • 3 Years Ago
      Julien, I personally like BMW, I never said anything bad about them. The vehicles aren't even BMW's from my understanding. I like cross overs too. I was being critical of the commercial. There is no indication of a stop light or stop sign being missed. The other car, as I called it, "douche crossover" had enough speed to make his tires squeal around that corner and not be cautious themselves. I think the commercial was very affective, I'd just like to see it from the other cars perspective. Driving while texting is bad and I'm not an advocate for it although I'm guilty of it all the time. OH, internet and the affairs we have.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Tim Fox
        Yeah, it would be much more effective if they just had a shot of the stop sign that she's missing. Maybe as seen from the kid - mom is texting, you can see the big red stop sign just past her, then the screech and crunch.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Texting or not, she was screwed. I'd done that commercial a bit different.
      • 3 Years Ago
      LOL is that the new for 2012 BMW interior?
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