The Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) is receiving federal money – and free television commercials – to educate young male drivers about the dangers of not wearing seat belts when operating vehicles and the agency is doing it in an eye-opening fashion.

ITD released a commercial on Aug. 26 on YouTube entitled “Faceplant” which shows several pedestrians crashing their heads into the windshield of a young male driver before he, while not wearing his safety restraint, is rear-ended by a large truck. The commercial was provided to ITD at no cost by the National Traffic Safety Administration. Jeff Stratten, spokesman for ITD, says the commercial first launched on YouTube because of its rather graphic nature. “While the ad would be targeted at younger males, there was concern it might be too graphic,” says Stratten. “So a decision was made to post the commercial on YouTube as one method to get some feedback. So far the feedback has been positive.”

Click to watch the video below (warning: content may be too graphic for minors):

The release of the ad came days before the Idaho State Police (ISP) announced increased enforcement efforts in the month of September for those caught not wearing a seat belt. ISP’s efforts promised no mercy to violators. “If you are caught not wearing your seat belt, you will be cited,” said the ISP announcement.

Stratten told that the timing of the two events was no coincidence. Using information provided to him by the Idaho Office of Highway Safety, Stratten says that the approach to increased seat belt use in Idaho will focus on education and then enforcement. “One to two weeks prior to the start date of the enforcement, we start the media/education campaign. The seat belt/child passenger safety enhanced enforcement begins Sept. 10 and runs through Sept. 20,” says an official from the highway safety agency. ITD plans to focus on seat belt violations the entire month of September.

The graphic ad is intended to get in the minds of younger, male drivers who tend to behave in more unsafe ways behind the wheel. “We gear our messages to reach the risky driver target audience which is young males 18-34 for seat belts, and parents and caregivers for child passenger safety,” says the official.

The targeted approach may be based on data collected between 2005 and 2009, which shows that those who don’t wear seat belts while driving are more likely to die if involved in a serious accident. “In 2009, the 21% of Idahoans that did not buckle up accounted for 59% of the occupants killed in traffic crashes,” says ITD on its webpage. The agency also found that teen drivers are the most likely demographic to not use seat belts and that 92 of the 129 youngsters killed in the five-year time span were not utilizing safety restraints during accidents. The agency also found that from 2005 to 2009, 383 of the 614 males killed in auto accidents were not restrained. In all, 959 persons were killed between those five years, of which 58 percent weren’t buckled up.

ITD and ISP aren’t the first state agencies to use graphic ads to target younger audiences. The Idaho Meth Project, the publicly- and privately-funded organization charged with battling meth problems in the state, has released shocking and graphic ads to deter youth from using drugs in the past few years. First Lady Lori Otter, after showing the project’s third-round of ads at the Capitol in Boise in January, momentarily delayed her presentation of the television spots to acknowledge the gasps of the crowd watching.

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About The Author

Dustin Hurst serves as the Communication Director for the Idaho Freedom Foundation. He graduated from Boise State in 2009. His work has been featured by Fox News, Townhall, Public Sector Inc., the Daily Caller, Reason, Human Events, the Spokesman Review and more. He and his wonderful wife Julia have two cute kids. The family resides in Middleton.

1 Comment

  1. Our son was almost killed in a 1 vehilcle roll over where he was thrown from the vehicle over 100 FEET! – TRUST ME going thru that whole experience was far to GRAPHIC so this video is mild compared to the consequence. PLEASE RUN IT!! I will share this with my daughter she is working with a platform of Cross Your Heart Not Your Fingers for her seatbelt awareness since his accident! I think his accident was harder on us that it was for him. She is sharing her story to hopefully spare other families the heart ache we went thru!

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