Calgary emergency officials teamed up to produce a video using the latest social media trend, the #MannequinChallenge, to highlight the potentially devastating impact of distracted driving.
The #MannequinChallenge shows people frozen in time as the camera records one continuous shot of a crash scene reenactment.
Filmed over a couple of hours Monday and shared on social media Tuesday, the Calgary Police Service drove the project with help from local paramedics.
“We’re always keeping track of trends on social media to see what we can use to further our safety message,” CPS Const. Riley Babott said, adding the #MannequinChallenge had been trending in the past few weeks.
The video shows vehicles smashed together, a person on a stretcher being loaded into an ambulance, another receiving medical attention and various police vehicles on scene.
“Where we shot it was at our traffic section – that collision scene is already set up,” Babott said. “They use it for training for collision reconstruction so that T-bone collision is sort of always there. All we had to do was move the vehicles around a bit and put people in place.”
At the end, a cellphone is seen on the seat of one of the vans involved in the crash with a text reading: “Can’t wait to see you!”
“On my way! Driving right now,” reads the response.
“Where are you? Hello???” followed by: “Please text me back!! ??? Are you okay?” with no answer.
EMS spokesperson Stuart Brideaux said paramedics were keen to help portray realism about the medical perspective of such an incident.
“The one-minute sequence speaks for itself,” Brideaux said. “It demonstrates the entire scene in silence and instills the impact of someone who—for less than seconds—takes their eyes off the road, chooses to multi-task behind a wheel and text while driving and this is the result.
“And it is not even remotely an exaggeration of the realities of what could happen.”
Brideaux, who is featured in the video, said there’s been an “extraordinary uptick through social media” reaching thousands of people in less than 24 hours and still climbing. Babott said on CPS social media channels, they’ve had 115,000 views so far, with lots of positive feedback.
“Really what we want people to do is take it to heart and ask themselves a serious question: if they’re driving distracted behind the wheel, why are they doing this? It’s not worth the risk.”