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New Zealand 'Belted Survivors' campaign is going to leave a mark

11 March 2019 - Autoblog

New Zealand 'Belted Survivors' campaign is going to leave a mark

Ongoing series of portraits graphically shows how seatbelts saved lives

According to the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) website, 378 motorists died in 2017, 327 in 2016, and 319 in 2015. The same agency says that every year, roughly 90 of those deaths are the result of occupants not wearing seatbelts. Because the main offenders are young men from rural areas, the NZTA, local ad agency Clemenger BBDO Wellington, and Vice media worked on a campaign aimed at those lads called "Belted Survivors." The series shows re-created post-crash photos of 10 guys who would be dead if not for their seat belts.

The agency enlisted special effects company PROFX, who worked on "The Hobbit" and "Thor: Ragnarok" movies, to make the 10 fellows look like their images in post-crash photos. (Since they had, of course, healed before this campaign was conceived.) The creative team also had an emergency medical specialist on hand for guidance. Referring to the black-and-blue sashes each man wore across his body, she said, "A seatbelt really does leave a mark like this. They will save your life, but they will leave you a mark to show how they've done it."

You can check out all of the fascinating images here, along with the crash survivors' stories. In addition to the 10 posting the images on their social media, and telling their stories on YouTube, NZTA is running billboards and social videos to "prove a seatbelt is a tool worth using." This is an ongoing campaign, so a dedicated website continues to gather stories from other survivors who could be the subject of future profiles.

A similar idea could benefit the U.S. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said that of the 23,714 people killed in car crashes in 2016, 48 percent were unrestrained. Surprisingly, the 13- to 15-year-old age group had the highest rate of unrestrained deaths, at 62 percent. When broken out by vehicle type, pickup truck drivers had the highest rates of going without seatbelts, at 60 percent. And as in New Zealand, "Adults who live in non-metropolitan areas are less likely to wear seatbelts than adults who live in metropolitan areas."

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