WATCH: Volkswagen texting and driving PSA jolts moviegoers

TORONTO – Volkswagen screened a special interactive PSA on the dangers of texting and driving at a movie theatre in Hong Kong recently, and it could be the most effective campaign on the subject yet.

As the lights in the theatre go down, point-of-view footage of someone starting a car appears on the theatre screen. The person in the footage turns the radio on and starts driving.

They drive for a long time as the audience in the theatre sits quietly, looking confused as to what they are being shown.

Using a location-based broadcaster, someone in the projection booth sends out a message to every cellphone in the theatre.

People go for their phones, pulling them out of their pockets and bags.

As they look away from the theatre screen to their phones, the car on the screen veers off the road and crashes, making them all jump and look back up to the screen in shock.

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The message, “Mobile use is now the leading cause of death behind the wheel” appears on the screen before changing to, “A reminder to keep your eyes on the road.”

A study conducted by the Transport Research Laboratory in 2008 found that texting while driving delays reaction times by up to 35 per cent.

In comparison, driving while drunk delayed reaction times by only 12 per cent and driving while high on marijuana delayed reaction times by 21 per cent.

There was a total of 78 deaths in Ontario related to distracted driving in 2013. Distracted driving is now the leading cause of traffic fatalities in most provinces across Canada.

In April, a 32-year-old North Carolina woman died in a crash seconds after posting a message to Facebook and in early May a driver in Vancouver caused a four-vehicle crash while reaching for their phone.

SOUND OFF: Do you feel the Volkswagen PSA gets the message across of how dangerous texting and driving is? Let us know in the comments below or on our Facebook page.