Page last updated at 13:57 GMT, Friday, 23 October 2009 14:57 UK
TV showcase for text crash film

The film shows how a brief lapse in concentration can have devastating consequences

A graphic film highlighting the dangers of texting whilst driving will be given its TV premiere by BBC Wales after becoming a global hit on the internet.

Cow, which stars young actors from south Wales, shows a teenager killing four people in a collision when she uses her mobile phone to send a text.

Brynmawr filmmaker Peter Watkins-Hughes produced it for Gwent Police as an educational tool for young motorists.

Cow will be given its first broadcast on BBC Two Wales on 2 November at 10pm.

Although people are aware of the laws against driving while using a mobile phone, many, it seems, still aren't aware of the dangers of texting whilst driving, an offence in Britain since 2006.

The film seeks to highlight this to dramatic effect as it follows fictional schoolgirl girl Cassie Cowan, nicknamed Cow.

Crash video
An extract of the film posted on the web has won worldwide attention

She and her friends are involved in a horrific car crash after she loses concentration behind the wheel while texting.

The graphic nature of Cow, especially the brutal and realistic portrayal of the crash, has already caused controversy.

But director Peter Watkins-Hughes has defended the film's violence.

"Yes it is violent, but the reality of a fatal road accident is much more gruesome," he said.

"If you're old enough to drive, you're old enough to be aware of the real and serious risks one places oneself in every time you get behind the wheel."

A four minute taster clip of the film has received millions of viewers on YouTube, and has gained global attention.

American media including Fox News, NBC News, and the New York Times have picked it up, highlighting that the issue hits home worldwide.

Mobile phone
Texting is said to be more risky for motorists than drink or drugs

Mick Giannasi, chief constable of Gwent Police, has said he is astonished but encouraged by the way news of the film has spread, and that he has received calls and emails from people across the world saying how moved they were by the film.

"Young people think they can text in autopilot because they do it so instinctively," he said.

"For that reason we need to use strong imagery to make them to sit up and take notice."

Recent RAC Foundation research showed reaction times slowed by 35% when 17 to 24-year-olds drove while reading and writing text messages.

And its research last year showed that texting while driving impairs motorists more than being under the influence of drink or drugs.

It said nearly 50% of drivers aged between 18 and 24 text while driving.

Cow will be shown on BBC Two Wales on Monday 2 November at 2200 GMT

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