Werner Herzog's Texting-and-Driving Documentary Slated to Hit Hard

By: Jen Lamboy August 7, 2013
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Film director Werner Herzog
Cinema genius Werner Herzog hits the texting-and-driving epidemic head on with "One Second to the Next."

German-born film legend Werner Herzog hits home with his latest documentary on texting while driving. His eye-opening film “One Second to the Next” features accident victims and their loved ones, and details how this deadly epidemic changed their lives forever.

Truth is Scarier than Fiction

Since he was a teenager, Herzog has been making eclectic films that addle, twist, and intrigue with a lasting impact. Now in his 70s, he slams the audience with a topic so ghastly, we’ll quiver at the thought of doing the one thing many of us can’t avoid: getting behind the wheel.

That’s because the reality on the road is chilling. Texting drivers are everywhere, making perhaps the greatest impact of all:

  • More than 9 people are killed and more than 1,060 are injured in crashes that are reported to involve a distracted driver EACH DAY (Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).
  • Nearly HALF of all US high school drivers text or email while driving (Source: CDC).
  • More than 100,000 auto accidents PER YEAR involve a texting driver (Source: National Safety Council).
  • 75% of teens say texting and driving is COMMON among their friends (Source: AT&T Wireless survey).

While cell phone laws vary by state, most prohibit texting while driving. Learn the safety laws in your area before you get behind the wheel.

Victims Fuel Inspiration

Herzog first started working with victims of tragic auto accidents that involved texting drivers when he directed a short public service announcement for It Can Wait. It Can Wait is a campaign that educates drivers—especially teens—about distraction-free driving.

The campaign’s 30-second PSA (above) was sponsored by cell phone service giants AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile. It was his experience with the individuals you see in the PSA that inspired Herzog to move forward with his full-length documentary.

The subject matter might seem atypical for Herzog who has produced, written, and directed more than 60 eclectic feature and documentary films such as “Fitzcarraldo” (1982) and “Grizzly Man” (2005).

The Art and Impact of Storytelling

Herzog is famously known for using locals from the sites in which he shoots his films. This benefits his effort to portray the “ecstatic truth” when they are incorporated as characters and as themselves in his documentaries. With “One Second to the Next,” he brings to the forefront the ugly truth about distracted driving as told by the victims themselves.

Texting-and-Driving Documentary Hits the Road

Herzog’s heart-wrenching documentary is reported to premiere today in Los Angeles. From there, “One Second to the Next” will go out to approximately 40,000 schools throughout the country and multiple government and safety organizations. You can also catch the film online via It Can Wait.

The documentary couldn’t arrive at a better time, as the epidemic seems to rapidly spread. According to the CDC, the number of texts sent or received in the US increased by 50% from 2009 to 2011, totaling more than 196 billion text messages. Staggering, isn’t it? As for a solution to the fatal texting-and-driving problem we face in this country, the hope is that Herzog’s new film will make a dent. But in his words, “Civilization is like a thin layer of ice upon a deep ocean of chaos and darkness.”

What says you? Do you see a light at the end of the tunnel (and I don't mean a smartphone in the distance)?

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