In a recent episode of Fox's high school drama "Glee," character Quinn Fabray learned about texting while driving the hard way: She crashed her car and wound up in a wheelchair merely because she sent a text while behind the wheel. Now, the crash scene from "Glee" is the centerpiece of a new anti-texting ad.
The TV and web ad underscores the fact that dealing with a text message behind the wheel can take your eyes off the road for an average of 5 seconds – enough time to drive the length of a football field. Dianna Agron portrays Quinn Fabray in the TV series and in the ad.
"Distracted driving is an epidemic on our roadways, and our youngest and most inexperienced drivers are often the most at risk," U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood says in a news release. "Young people across the country watch 'Glee,' and we're thrilled to partner with the show to spread the word that texting and driving don't mix."
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the Ad Council, Fox Home Entertainment, and the State Attorneys General and Consumer Protection Agencies teamed up for the anti-distracted-driving spot.
The show's executive producer and co-creator, Ryan Murphy, says: "We were inspired by Oprah Winfrey's campaign encouraging everyone to sign a pledge not to text and drive, which we all signed when we did her show a few years ago, and we had been looking for an opportunity to tell the story of how a few seconds of carelessness could have a devastating impact on people's lives. We've already heard from thousands of our fans how this story touched them, and we loved the idea of a … campaign to keep this important issue front and center."
According to NHTSA research, at least 3,092 people were killed in 2010 in distraction-related crashes, or about one of every 10 U.S. traffic deaths that year. On its own, distracted driving won't raise your car insurance rates. However, a crash caused by distracted driving typically will bump up your insurance premium.
The new "Glee" ad is part of the national "Stop the Texts. Stop the Wrecks" campaign. The initiative began in October 2011 to educate young drivers about the dangers of texting behind the wheel.