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Roadside Memorials Remind Us: Distracted Driving Is No LOL-ing Matter

Nonprofit organization FocusDriven and agency Team One set up roadside memorials shaped into emoticons and texting abbreviations to remind drivers to pay attention.

One of the more ripped-from-the-headlines moments on David Fincher’s Netflix series, House of Cards, arrives when congressman antihero Frank Underwood must deal with the fallout from not tearing down a (very real) South Carolina landmark called The Peachoid. The community is devastated when a teen has a deadly car crash because she was texting about the giant peach-shaped water tower. Ultimately, the scenario amounted to a brief plot point, but the outrage of the bereaved family is as real as that water tower, and it’s felt by families across the country.

FocusDriven is a nonprofit organization, founded by families who’ve suffered in one way or another because of distracted driving. Since, according to the National Safety Council, texting while driving increases a person’s chances of an accident by 8% to 23%, FocusDriven is determined to spread the word this coming April, which in recent years has become National Anti-Distracted Driving month. The print campaign the organization has just launched should burn a certain striking visual in the minds of young drivers.

Created by L.A.-based agency, Team One, the new effort features images of roadside candlelight memorials that spell out some of the popular emoticons and laughcronyms. Rendering "LOL," "OMG," and ":-)" in the form of candles and wreaths is meant to drive home an association between road-bound texting and mortality.

In addition to the print campaign, April will see social media versions on FocusDriven’s Facebook page and Twitter. Have a look through the images of the campaign in the slide show above.

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