Belfast Telegraph

Friday 19 September 2014

1m views as DoE's shock speeding ad goes viral

Environment Minister Mark H Durkan
Environment Minister Mark H Durkan

A shocking road safety advertisement in which a classroom of children is wiped out by a speeding driver has been watched by more than one million people on YouTube in the space of a week.

The graphic advert from the Department of the Environment was first aired on television –after the 9pm watershed – on Monday last week.

The ad, described by Environment Minister Mark H Durkan as the most sensitive and powerful yet, depicts a group of children on a school trip to a woodland falling foul of a speeding driver.

The children are gathered on the ground for a picnic against the haunting sounds of an acoustic version of the Guns N Roses song Sweet Child Of Mine.

But joy turns to devastation as a speeding driver loses control and his car careers over the wall and crushes the group of children.

The advert aims to highlight that 28 children – enough to fill a classroom – have been killed by speeding in Northern Ireland since 2000.

It finishes with the words: "Shame on you. You can never control the consequences."

It stunned audiences when it was premiered in cinemas in Northern Ireland, but has now gone viral.

Many viewers on social media from around the world said the grim advert had "hit a nerve". One said they had cried after watching it.

Another wrote: "I applaud the Northern Ireland authorities for this safety campaign. It is no more graphic than some scenes in say The Walking Dead or Game Of Thrones and it has a very important message.

"I would like them to do an equivalent one here in Australia. Be more than a classroom full I would say."

One YouTube viewer added: "It's more visually striking when we see the accumulation... all those children."

When it was launched Mr Durkan said it represented a "real wake up call".

"The fact is, excessive speed remains the single biggest principal factor behind road deaths in Northern Ireland and is responsible for a quarter of fatalities."

He added: "Therefore, the aim of this campaign is to challenge and dispel, once and for all, through this emotional and uncomfortable message, the false perceptions that many road users have as to the truly horrifying consequences of speeding."

The ad can be viewed by visiting YouTube and searching for 'DoE road safety classroom'

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