TAMPA (CBS Tampa) – A new Florida traffic safety video that shows real situations of people getting hit by cars has become a polarizing media campaign among Florida state lawmakers.
The Florida Department of Transportation began showing a graphic video of pedestrians being hit by cars, causing them to be tossed to the road and crashing into windshields. The video, which is part of the state’s “See the Blind Spots” campaign, is meant to raise awareness for walkers and drivers as the state hopes to cut down on pedestrian and bicycle fatalities.
Florida DOT spokeswoman Marian Scorza told CBS Tampa that the campaign has produced a great deal of attention, even if people look to the graphic nature of it first. She hopes that the message will resonate as well.
“This was bold and innovative and got more publicity than we ever have had before, but we want publicity on the problem,” said Scorza, who represents District 7, which covers the Tampa Bay area. “Tampa has a problem with pedestrian and bicycle fatalities and we want to change that.”
But not all talk of the media campaign has been positive. State Sen. Mike Fasano, whose district has been labeled as one of the more dangerous metro areas for pedestrian walkers, told the New York Daily News that the video was too much.
“They were truly graphic and something that shouldn’t be on a state website,” Fasano said. “I have great concerns as well with children having access to that website and going and watching those horrific and very sad videos.”
The video also displays footage of body bags and bloody jogging shoes abandoned on the highway. Scorza said she’s hopeful the video, even with it being edgy, will stay in the minds of bicyclists, pedestrians, and motorists as the state hopes that better management of possible distractions will result in a drop in pedestrian and bicyclist fatalities.
“The video was a little graphic, but things like that are happening in Tampa every single day,” she said.