Jarring N.Z. ads give drivers a wake-up call

With all the subtlety of a splattered skull, New Zealand highway-safety officials have launched a disturbing ad campaign with the tagline, “Sleep before you drive.” You can see (literal) executions here, here and here on Ads of the World. It’s an interesting campaign topic because it truly can affect anyone at any time. There’s no “Just say no” approach to getting sleepy like there is with drunken driving, and maybe graphic reminders like these will help people realize that they can be too tired for the road. For New Zealand, which is no stranger to gruesome road-safety ads, it’s certainly an issue of concern—the government estimates there were 134 fatal fatigue-related accidents from 2002 to 2004. Maybe the U.S. needs a similar campaign. According to this video about Volvo’s new fatigue-alert system, there are about 100,000 sleepy-driver accidents a year in America, with 1,500 people killed and 70,000 injured. Maybe the U.S. version can show a king-size, four-poster Hummer bed crushing my twin-size VW into a utility pole.

—Posted by David Griner