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Entries in Graphic Videos (1)

Tuesday
Nov222011

Florida DOT Website Showcases Graphic Death Videos

WFTS/ABC News(TAMPA, Fla.) -- A graphic campaign launched by the Florida Department of Transportation showing pedestrians being run over by cars is grabbing the attention of State Sen. Mike Fasano, who says the footage is uncalled for.

"They were truly graphic and something that shouldn't be on a state website," he told ABC News Tampa affiliate WFTS.

The disturbing video, housed on www.seetheblindspots.com, shows people being run over by cars, their bodies flying over the hoods, crashing into windshields or lying lifeless on the street.

"You're watching the impact now," a video slate reads. "But will you be looking out for it tomorrow?"

"It's a little edgy, a little bold, but we're trying to get motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians to all be aware of each other," said Marian Scorza, a Florida DOT spokeswoman. "It's an awareness campaign."

Fasano, a Republican, told WFTS it's time for the department to re-examine its campaign and "maybe, just maybe...do away with those graphic videos. It's not necessary."

Florida Rep. Irv Slosberg, however, told WFTS he has a different opinion.

"We need something graphic on the air," said Slosberg, a Democrat whose teenage daughter Dori died in a 1996 car crash in which she wasn't wearing a seat belt. "We're going backwards instead of forwards. A lot of it has to do with driver distraction. Cellphones, texting and driving."

Dunn & Co., the Tampa-based marketing company that created the website, grabbed the videos of the Florida accidents from YouTube, according to account executive Sarah Waldie.

The goal, she said, was, "to be impactful and wake people up and make them pay attention."

Pay attention they have. The video has been viewed over 91,000 times since the website went live one week ago.

DOT required a couple of initial edits to the first version of the video, said Waldie, to tone it down.

So far, she says, the marketing company hasn't received any complaints, although they are following the brewing conversation online. The public has given DOT mixed reviews about the video, which first appeared on the agency's new website on Nov. 14.

"There are people who don't like it. There are people who think it's too much," said Scorza. "We just want to get people directed to the website and hopefully get past that and look at the statistics."

The Tampa Bay area, a district encompassing five counties, is not only one of the most dangerous areas in Florida for pedestrians and bicyclists, this year it was named one of the worst in the nation.

Between 2007 and 2010 an average of 79 pedestrians were killed every year in the Tampa Bay district.

DOT's goal, stated on the agency's website, is to decrease Tampa Bay pedestrian fatalities by 20 percent before 2015.

The project cost the state $125,000.

"We're not trying to shock or horrify anybody just to get attention," she said. "We want people to take something away from this, open their eyes and be careful."

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