Ad of the Day: NHTSA warns people not to drink and drive this holiday in English and Spanish

A new campaign for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) uses visceral images of post-drunk driving crashes and pleading by family members in both English and Spanish to drive home the point that drunk driving during the holidays – or at any time – is a potentially fatal action.

According to the NHTSA, 37,461 people were killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes in 2016, and 28% (10,497) of those fatalities were in crashes during which a driver had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) over the legal limit.

Knoxville-based agency, the Tombras Group developed this year’s ‘Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over’ campaign, its 13th year doing so, for the first time putting people directly into the immediate aftermath of a drunk driving crash scene. This is not something NHTSA has attempted before as the annual campaign has always focused on the moments prior to the drive or accident.

A 360-spot is viewed from the point of view of someone being wheeled in a gurney to an ambulance. All around we see the results of the actions of his reckless drunk driving accident, including a burning car, crying people, cops, medics and firemen and a general order of chaos. By dragging the picture, you see more of the destruction.

A second, in Spanish, finds a man leaving a bar and getting into his car. Suddenly the images of his father appear, telling him the dangers of drunk driving, and an image of his wife holding a picture of their child, until the man realizes he needs a cab.

A third shows a man playing pool in a bar and then seeing the date of Dec. 20 everywhere he looks. The warning, “It’s not if it happens, it’s when. Is today your day to get a DUI” chimes in as the man second guesses his choices.

A new segmentation study commissioned by NHTSA found key attitudinal insights shared across all of the distinct at-risk groups (ranging from casual to heavy drinkers). First, many at-risk drivers have driven drunk multiple times without being caught. They believe the risk of being caught is low. However, they are concerned with steep, life altering consequences and are swayed by them.

The jumping off point for the campaign was: Is today the day you get pulled over? Is it really no big deal to drive home one more time? The short films set out to reinforce the idea that the risks are real and make the consequences abundantly clear, seen through a first-person crash scene.

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Kyle O'Brien

I am a reporter for The Drum covering a wide array of topics but always trying to tell the best stories possible. I am a former west coaster from California and Portland, Oregon, now living in Pennsylvania — with time spent in NYC each week.

I also play saxophone professionally.

All by Kyle