A road safety ad from Northern Ireland’s Department of the Environment has garnered more than 1.5 million views within a week of being posted to YouTube and is considered so disturbing to some that it’s not being aired on televisions until later in the evening.
The anti-speeding ad starts off innocently enough, showing a classroom full of young children putting on their coats and backpacks to head out for a field trip that day. Juxtaposed against this is a man clearly rushing to get somewhere, shoving a piece of toast in his mouth, grabbing his coat and heading out of his home.
For the full shock-factor, just watch what happens next (Content warning: images might be considered disturbing):
The man, now speeding along in his car, lost control at a curve, sending the vehicle flying over a hedge and right onto the group of children, flattening them while the sat on a picnic blanket.
“Since 2000, speeding has killed a classroom of our children,” the narrator in the video said. “Shame on you. You can never control the consequences if you speed.”
After being posted last week, the comments on the YouTube video have been disabled, but the Belfast Telegraph reported some of the viewers’ perspectives:
Many viewers on social media from around the world said the grim advert had “hit a nerve”. One said they had cried after watching it.
Another wrote: “I applaud the Northern Ireland authorities for this safety campaign. It is no more graphic than some scenes in say The Walking Dead or Game Of Thrones and it has a very important message.
“I would like them to do an equivalent one here in Australia. Be more than a classroom full I would say.”
One YouTube viewer added: “It’s more visually striking when we see the accumulation… all those children.”
Environment Minister Mark Durkan called the video a “real wake-up call,” according to the newspaper.
“The fact is, excessive speed remains the single biggest principal factor behind road deaths in Northern Ireland and is responsible for a quarter of fatalities,” Durkan said, according to the Telegram. “Therefore, the aim of this campaign is to challenge and dispel, once and for all, through this emotional and uncomfortable message, the false perceptions that many road users have as to the truly horrifying consequences of speeding.”
Mashable reported that the ad, due to its graphic nature that could be disturbing for some audiences, won’t appear on TV until after 9 p.m.