Shocking portraits of the searing bruises that seatbelts can leave behind after a crash are being celebrated as survival badges of honor, and showing the importance of belting up.
The initiative is part of an NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) campaign to reduce the number of deaths on NZ roads. According to them, 90 people die each year because they weren’t wearing their seatbelt, most of whom are young men in rural areas. The confronting portraits are of 10 real-life crash survivors, whose post-crash injuries were recreated by the SFX make-up company PROFX.
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“A seatbelt really does leave a mark like this,” emergency medical specialist Dr. Natasha McKay, who provided her expertise to the project, explained. “They will save your life, but they will leave you a mark to show how they’ve done it.”
The campaign has been shown on billboards around the country, with the survivors releasing emotional videos that tell their story. The aim is to get people sharing their own survival stories, stressing the positive impact of seatbelts and the joy of being alive to tell the tale.
NZTA, who worked closely with marketing communications company Clemenger BBDO, was looking to change the attitudes of some men, who view the seatbelt as an optional extra rather than a life-saving necessity. “We’re selling an undesirable product to these guys,” spokesperson Rachel Prince told Designboom. “Research told us they think seatbelt messages are for kids, for the elderly, for everyone else. We worked with them to make the undesirable something they wanted to buy.”
Back in 2014, Willy Carberry’s car crashed into a power pole at speed before flipping over onto its side. He only survived the horrific accident because he was wearing his seatbelt, and he had the bruise marks across his chest to prove it.
“F***ing put a seatbelt on,” was his blunt message to guys who think they are invincible. In an interview with stuff.co.nz, he stressed that fate can be out of your hands when you’re out on the road, it’s not necessarily going to be a fault of your own that leads to a crash. “”It doesn’t matter how short the trip is. You never know who’s going to come out of the intersection and t-bone ya, or reverse out of a driveway, or an old lady going down the road, having a stroke.”
“If you don’t wear it, you’re gambling with your life, if you ask me.”