“Glee” has teamed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in order to make shocking PSA’s that will grab the attention of the American youth in a program called “Stop the Wrecks. Stop the Texts.” In addition to working with the r-word.org in the “Spread the Word to End the Word” campaign against the usage of “retard” to describe something or someone as stupid, “Glee” has partnered with NHSTA by using the last scene at the end of a “Glee” season 3 episode to show how quickly someone can get into an accident from texting.
“Glee,” an American television show focused on music, usually tackles hot button topics like same-sex relationships, teenage sex, domestic abuse, suicide and alcohol. Since the start of the show in May 2009, young viewers have eagerly watched and taken to social media such as Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube to give their reactions and opinions on different episodes calling themselves “Gleeks” to show their dedication to the show. The show itself has gotten so popular over the years that big-name celebrities frequent the show such as Gwyneth Paltrow, Ricky Martin, Nene Leakes, John Stamos and Eve, as well as many others. CNN calls it the “Glee effect,” stating that since the shows start it has attracted more and more young viewers encouraging them not only to engage in music, but also to embrace their differences. Though the PSAs for texting and driving have been in circulation since before “Glee” was introduced, NHTSA, realizing the impact of the show on the youth, and used this opportunity to reach out to their target audience for this particular PSA, teenage drivers.
In the new PSAs, Dianna Agron, as character Quinn Fabray in “Glee,” is seen driving to meet her friends, when she is distracted by a text message. She looks away from the road to text and is seen veering out of her lane and then hit by oncoming traffic. U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a statement to reporters “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.” During the commercial, Agron is texting when she says “five seconds is the average time your eyes are off the road while texting and driving,” not seeing the truck coming at her from opposing traffic.
The cast members of “Glee” previously joined Oprah in her pledge against texting while driving, signing a pledge to show their support in the cause. Since the pledge, the co-producers of “Glee” have been looking for an opportunity to show the effects of texting and driving.
The NHTSA reports that in 2010, more than 3,000 people were killed and an additional 416 thousand were injured due to distracted driving, which includes impaired driving due to drugs, alcohol and texting.