Aussies: ‘Don’t be a dickhead’

Australian cell phone driving safety adThe government of Victoria, Australia, has an official message for its citizens: “Don’t be a dickhead. Don’t use your phone.”

The opposition party and a loose coalition of teachers, moralists and conservatives aren’t amused, saying the driving safety campaign sends a bad message to the state’s youth and is an affront to educators.

Finance and Water minister Tim Holding says, “Whatever it is, indeed it’s already promoted debate.”

“Our road safety campaigns in Victoria have always provoked debate and discussion and sometimes it’s because of the graphic images that have been presented, sometimes it’s the use of humor, controversy,” Holding told (the Australian) ABC News.

The VicRoads ads seek to communicate with young drivers through their online social networks; “This is about talking directly with young Victorians and passing on the road safety message through their social network,” said Roads Minister Tim Pallas. “Viral ads spread through word-of-mouth and people connecting with each other online.”

The opposition party’s transportation guru called the off-color campaign an “appalling” message to send to children and an affront to the teachers who have to deal with them daily. One of the ads seeking to prevent Australian distracted driving shows a girl flipping off the narrator who appeals for cell phone-free driving, while another devoted to seatbelt use features a young geek hammering a PC in anger (video below).

They actually have someone called a respect minister down there, and he gets the last word here: “Anybody who puts somebody else’s life at risk, or their own life, by the way they drive or conduct themselves on the road is no doubt going to be called a lot of things,” he said.

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