It can be ridiculously tempting to text while driving. The phone lights up. It’s right there on the seat next you. Maybe a fast glance wouldn’t be so bad.
German filmmaker Werner Herzog’s new documentary on the topic will guarantee you never touch that phone while behind the wheel ever again. From One Second to the Next examines lethal situations from both the victims and perpetrators’ perspectives to show just how devastating texting while driving can be.
The film was commissioned by AT&T and will shown to high schools, safety groups and government agencies across the country, the Associated Press reports. Though it has a clear, educational agenda, it’s no less emotionally resonant than Herzog’s other films, which often find the director plunging into the extremes of human existence.
“What AT&T proposed immediately clicked and connected inside of me,” Herzog told the AP. “There’s a completely new culture out there. I’m not a participant of texting and driving — or texting at all — but I see there’s something going on in civilization which is coming with great vehemence at us.”
The 35-minute film describes, in excruciating detail, four accidents that resulted when a driver was texting behind the wheel. To drive the message home, Herzog hosts some interviews at the scene of the accidents, and has police officers show photographs of the wreckage.
The point is made even more painfully when victims and perpetrators describe the small ways their lives have been irreparably changed. In one scene, a mother laments that she can’t tell her young boy to go outside and play anymore because his injuries keep him tethered to unwieldy medical equipment. In another, an Indiana man reports the last text he sent before causing an accident that killed three people.
What did it say? “I love you.”