Hard-hitting #homeforchristmas campaign warns of texting dangers

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Across the world millions of drivers are taking to the roads this week for Christmas and for other annual holidays. To help ensure they get home safely, the FIA Foundation and the AA Trust, together with M&C Saatchi, are launching a hard‐hitting anti‐text driving Christmas campaign, #homeforchristmas.

The hard-hitting seasonal video highlights the dangers of texting whilst driving and has the tagline 'Make it home for Christmas'.

The sobering video, directed and produced by Mad Ruffian, is set to the 1943 hit ‘I’ll be home for Christmas’ by Bing Crosby. It shows a young girl texting her father while he is driving home for Christmas. As the film continues it is revealed he has been in a collision and has passed away. The film ends with a picture of the father and daughter at a roadside memorial along with the tagline “Make it home for Christmas”.

 Saul Billingsley, FIA Foundation Executive Director, said: “Every day around the world 3,500 people don’t make it home to their families, because they’ve been killed in a car crash. Increasingly, driver distraction is a factor. So the FIA Foundation is pleased to support this hard-hitting, life-saving, message. Make it home this Christmas, don’t text and drive.”

Commenting, Edmund King OBE, Chairman of the AA Trust and AA President, said: “We know that Christmas should be a happy family time and we want to keep it that way. The ‘Make it home for Christmas’message is hard‐hitting but so are the consequences of text driving.

“Having campaigned with Kate Goldsmith, whose 11-year-old daughter was killed by a driver looking at his phone, we have no qualms about putting across a strong message at Christmas. Drink drive campaigns are common at this time of year and yet you are twice as likely to crash text driving as drink driving. Neither texting nor drinking should be mixed with driving if you want to make it home for Christmas.”

Wayne Robinson, M&C Saatchi Creative Director, said: “This film can make a difference. It’s been six months in the making, but it really is a cause I, and everyone involved, feel passionate about. Too many lives are put at risk by the mundane task of texting at the wheel. We hope our film will encourage drivers to turn off their phones and stay safe.”

Kate Goldsmith, said; “This year will be the second Christmas without my daughter, Aimee. Every day since 10th August 2016 is painful for her family and friends but somehow at Christmas the sadness is more acute. If you choose to use your phone whilst driving, you are essentially demonstrating that Aimee’s death was acceptable. Ask yourself if it’s acceptable for another driver to injure or kill a member of your family. Don’t text and drive, make it home for Christmas.”

According to an AA‐Populus poll* of 17,979 motorists in the UK part of the problem is that more than half of young drivers (51%) can’t bring themselves to turn off their mobile phones before driving. Amongst the general driving population, one fifth (21%) can’t bear to turn off their phones with the worst offenders living in London or Northern Ireland (25%).

Amongst parents, one in 20 say that they would reply to a text or pick up a hand-held phone while driving if it was from their son, daughter or a loved one. Yet, according to Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) research, reaction times are twice as long text driving as drink driving. Text driving needs to become just as socially unacceptable.

It’s a matter everyone involved in creating the film feels strongly about and many have been affected by in some way – from the Director’s loss of a childhood friend, the film’s lead actor nearly losing his brother, to the Creative Director who commutes to work on a scooter and is almost daily knocked off by drivers looking at their phones.

Amanda Jones and Christopher Watson-Wood, Directors and founders of Mad Ruffian added: “Every step of the way, we attempted to be true to the heart (and pain / sorrow / loss / love) that comes with the tragedy of a driving accident. Texting and driving is a real problem and many of us are guilty of it. Drivers using their phones, whether handheld or hands-free, are four times more likely to crash, potentially injuring or killing themselves or other people. And so, if even one person thinks about this film while reaching for his/her phone to respond to a loved one - and then doesn’t - then we have put our abilities (and hearts) to good use and possibly made the one difference that truly counts.”

The social media campaign will be using the hashtag #home4christmas 

Watch the film https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_529zOpQ5R8