Do automakers have any responsibility for promoting safe driving? We think that the majority of people would agree that they do, yet for countless years there have been television commercials from automakers showing bad driving — particularly those which glorify speed, or dodging and weaving through traffic — which at the very least, quite deliberately contradict safety values and driver courtesy in the hope of generating more car sales. Some of it, however, seems to be sheer thoughtlessness or even ignorance and the images below would appear to be an example of this.
A recent commercial for the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid Minivan (a type of vehicle known as an ‘MPV’ or ‘people carrier’ in other countries) shows the actress Kathryn Hahn on what appears to be a modelling assignment, sitting upright in a seat which is reclined too far and not even touching her upper back. This automatically means the head restraint is also far too far away and on both counts would make a driver much more likely to be (a) hurt or more seriously hurt if the vehicle was rear-ended by a tailgater, and (b) less able to correctly control the vehicle during turns and curves (where back-support is important). It would possibly also result in fatigue or back-ache after driving a relatively short distance.
In addition, her thumbs are wrapped through the steering wheel rim while she’s shown to be driving, when they should be ON the rim to give much greater grip and control in the event of a swerve-inducing incident such as a tire burst or an angled collision from the left or the right.
She also eats a bulky sandwich while ostensibly sitting at a red light (see final photo, below), meaning that she is distracted from other vehicles moving around her and would be unable to react appropriately if one were to head for a collision with the Pacifica.
But that’s still not all! In the images of her munching on her sandwich — with eyes blissfully closed part of the time — it can also be seen that her seat belt has not been adjusted for her height and that it is far too high, thereby dramatically reducing its effectiveness. Why else are height adjusters fitted to seatbelts?
And in the video itself — 27 seconds in — she is shown adjusting the volume of the radio, on the center console, while driving (are there really no volume controls on the steering wheel?). Distracted driving.
Five significant safety failings in one commercial (and that’s without even mentioning the absence of daytime running lights)….. Way to go, Chrysler!
Sheer safety nonsense and serious corporate irresponsibility, but in case any cynics wish to try and trivialize these issues, kindly be aware that while each of the topics may not at first sight appear critical, the writer’s extensive professional background should serve to confirm that each of the examples shown is indeed capable of causing or exacerbating a bad incident.
Advanced Drivers of North America, Inc., calls upon all major traffic safety bodies in the USA to speak out and where possible mandate against the publication of any commercials from automakers which show or imply unsafe or irresponsible driving. Reducing the excessive number of deaths on the roads of the USA is already proving very difficult, without car manufacturers making matters worse by either carelessness or the deliberate glamorization of their vehicles in commercials, with egregious displays of excessive speed, etc. In this request for condemnation or regulatory steps, we specifically include the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration [NHTSA], the Governors’ Highway Safety Association [GHSA], and the National Safety Council [NSC].
The still images above, clearly first published by or on behalf of Chrysler, have been shown here in the interests of public safety.
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