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Graphic Drunk Driving PSA: Everybody Hurts

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While “Everybody Hurts” is an R.E.M. song that achieved massive popularity in the US back in the mid 1990’s, it is also background music to an Australian Public Service Announcement (PSA) advertisement against drunk driving in this drunk driving PSA. A harrowing question, “How many deaths does drunk driving cause?” does not always yield the desired result of a lower mortality rate. The answer fluctuates in various countries, and one of these countries is attacking the problem with a provocative solution. Australia’s Traffic Accident Commission (TAC) has released a five minute PSA that is arguably one of the best representations of the alarming and grievous possible end of a life affected by a drunk driver.

Everybody Hurts: Drunk Driving PSA

In a culture where movies often include graphic representations of cinematic death scenes, it is easy, especially for teenagers, to become de-sensitized or conditioned to seeing radically violent scenes of deaths. This may correlate to the fact that teen drug use and teen alcohol use statistics. In any case, Australia’s PSA still shocks the viewer into a reflective and apprehensive stupor, while Michael Stipe (of R.E.M) sings “when you’re sure you’ve had enough of this life, well hang on…”

Intrigued yet? Okay then—the advertisement starts out docile enough, with scenes of disparate people in disparate situations sharing one thing in common: drinking with the intent of driving. The people are from all walks of life, teens, college parties, after work socials at a bar, time with families, etc. The five minute “film” is a documentary style, with actual footage interspersed with presumably scripted scenes. The jovial first minute juxtaposed with the somber and reflective R.E.M. dirge is eerie, and this gives way to a montage of roadblocks, breathalyzers, drunken arrests, interrogation rooms and hospitals, where people are facing the consequences of their actions.

Australian Graphic PSA Message Hits Home

The divergence from United States FCC parameters takes a gigantic leap to “shockingly evocative.” As R.E.M. continues to exercise their recursive solemnity, the viewer is presented graphic scenes of drunk driving accidents, and not avoiding the realism of what happens when the human body is subject to such collisions. It is quite disturbing to see such violence, and surprising considering modern (American) culture has been so inured through movies and the media. The Aussies hit their target with horrific accuracy though, and the last bit of the PSA features the aftermath of weeping, wailing, and mournful family members and friends, and even those in physical recovery treatment.

Drunk driving statistics aside, an advertisement like this sends a pretty clear message. While big alcohol companies spend millions to hawk commercials with party life and ephemeral joy at the nation’s youth, the reality is actually portrayed in Australia’s PSA ad. Ask any teenager who has been to a party and there is a great chance it was nothing like what the beer ad on T.V. said it was going to be. In actuality, alcohol related deaths in auto accidents do indeed represent real life.

Closely related to this is another anti-alcoholism PSA, Fragile Childhood, that features parents that drink and/or are alcoholics. This advertisment shows the parents through the eyes of children as images of disturbing monsters. Disturbing yes, and hopefully a sobering deterrant. Anti-drinking ads haven been a proven method for prevention and awareness, but for those who suffer from addiction, these messages sometimes are not always seen. If you or someone you love is suffering from alcoholism or drug addiction, help is available.

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