Werner Herzog, the eccentric director known for documenting the lives of unusual heroes ("Grizzly Man") and antics like eating his shoe, has applied his skills to a new documentary "From One Second to the Next," a cautionary tale about the dangers of texting while driving. The film was funded by mobile providers AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint and Verizon.
"I had my brother in my hand, and all of a sudden, my hand was empty," the harrowing documentary begins. The 35-minute tale hopes to reach people with the message of what exactly happens when you text and drive, putting a human face on the tragedies that have resulted from people's bad driving habits -- like Xzavier, a little boy whose mother dreamt would become an athlete. It's sensitively handled, but provides plenty of shocks, like a particularly emotional scene where Xzavier's mom's monologue is interrupted by her son's arrival home -- the first image we get of him, and what has happened to him because of one driver's actions.
Featured in the film, along with Xzavier, is Reggie Shaw, who hit and killed two scientists in Utah in 2006, and spoke with lawmakers in the state after doing jail time to pass a new texting and driving law. There's also Vermont's Debbie Drewniak, who was put into a coma when a driver veered off the road while texting, and Chandler Gerber, who killed three children when he drove into a horse-drawn carriage carrying an Amish family.
The film is an expansion on the 30-second "It Can Wait" spots the four wireless carriers introduced earlier in the summer and which were also directed by Mr. Herzog. The campaign tries to show that nothing -- no message -- is important enough to put the lives of others at risk. The documentary is available at ItCanWait.com, along with a place to pledge not to text and drive, a texting-and-driving simulator, statistics and a chance to let viewers share their own stories.
The film will also be distributed to 40,000 high schools nationwide (according to the site, 75% of teens say texting and driving is "common" among their friends) and will also be available on the companies' YouTube sites and AT&T's TV service U-Verse.