They say road accidents are not decided by fate but by manmade errors. Even though drivers get their licence only after passing the test, when it comes to the real test on the road, most of us choose to ignore road safety rules. The larger idea being accidents are caused by a collective lack of conscience on roads.
Numerous public interest campaigns by traffic police, automobile brands and government bodies have sought to address this issue in many ways, but the number of reported accidents due to reckless driving are only growing in the country. Not wearing a seat belt is almost a trend although it is punishable. Not wearing a helmet is considered cool, but this careless attitude could be fatal. We know it but we still do it.
Maruti Suzuki’s latest video-driven campaign is inspired by the same thought: ‘‘If we know it’s wrong, why do we still do it?” A series of eight videos conceptualized by Dentsu Creative Impact, tackle the commonly flouted traffic rules in the country.
The worst of them all is drunk driving. A group of four friends are driving on the wrong side but they are sure everybody else is driving on the wrong side; they are drunk beyond their senses and putting their’s as well as others’ lives in danger. The driver makes a sarcastic comment about the resulting consequences of their mistake but continues driving nevertheless. A voiceover gets viewers to reflect on why we do this, when we know the consequences all too well.
Other films are about making way for an ambulance, stopping at a red light, not jumping lanes, sparring the footpath for pedestrians, wearing a seat belt, not using your mobile phone, and wearing a helmet. The protagonists in each of the films are well aware of what risks they are taking and how it can impact other peoples’ lives, and therein lies the irony. All the films end with the thought-provoking message, “If we know it’s wrong, why do we still do it?”
On the digital front, Maruti’s Facebook and Twitter pages are creating buzz about the videos with the hashtag #SafeRoadsWithMaruti. Visuals depicting the importance of wearing a seat belt and not driving drunk have been shared along with the videos.
Yet another reminder campaign
A road safety campaign, as mentioned earlier, is one too many in India and hasn’t necessarily amounted in reducing the rate of road fatalities. Yet, Maruti Suzuki’s latest effort is a commendable one. The concept of hitting at our conscience in a subtle manner is a different approach and works for me, but I’m not similarly sure about it affecting my decision on the road. In all likelihood, I will still not choose to wear a seat belt or a helmet, because that’s a convenient thing to do, and besides ‘nothing fatal has happened as yet’.
What I feel is necessary here, is a sense of bringing to life the very consequences the protagonists are talking about. The film on the two guys driving without a seat belt on the highway knowing fully well about the risks involved, could have shown how they wear a seat belt later and are saved from an accident. Much like At&T’s road safety campaign “Close To Home” last year, in which the protagonist meets with an accident while checking her mobile notifications. The film also shows how this could have been easily avoided.
Maruti Suzuki’s #SafeRoadsWithMaruti adds a memorable video series to its public interest initiatives on digital, but the efficacy of it is debatable. We Indians will only adhere to traffic rules when flouting them results in heavy punishment.