A young Quebec woman has taken to YouTube to bring a personal message about the relatively little-known problem of texting and driving, and it's winning lots of praise from road-safety advocates, law enforcement and web surfers.
Andrée-Anne Faucher, a 27-year-old actress, model and filmmaker, says she was moved to make the four-minute video, in part, after her cousin and his pregnant girlfriend died in a road accident, and by the death of Émy Brochu, a young woman killed in a car crash in Victoriaville in January 2012. Brochu had been exchanging text messages with her boyfriend when the accident happened.
"We don't talk about it enough," Faucher says. "Even I can't say I haven't texted [behind the wheel] before. But when I see news reports, I think to myself, 'your future can disappear in a single second.' That's what I wanted to demonstrate in the video."
In the video, a young woman — portrayed by Faucher — is seen sending text messages to her boyfriend, who's driving at high speed. She's looking to surprise him with the results of a pregnancy test. But he never makes it home — the police arrive instead to inform the stunned young woman that her boyfriend had died.
No words are exchanged in the video — the haunting song "Say Something" by the musical group A Great Big World and Christina Aguilera plays in the background.
There are also no shocking accident-scene images. Faucher says she wanted to play to people's emotions, rather than use shock tactics.
"People don't react to shocking imagery," she says. "I wanted to make a more sentimental video."
Jean-Marie de Koninck, the founder of Operation Red Nose and prominent road safety advocate, suggests the laws and attitudes simply haven't caught up with the proliferation of cell phones and mobile technology, and any way to raise awareness about dangers of distracted driving is most welcome.
"People know it's dangerous, but they do it anyway," de Koninck says. "Every time someone writes out a text message, they take their eyes off the road for at least five seconds. Five seconds is a lot."