A campaign hitting local airwaves this week aims to drive home a message about pedestrian and driver safety in a dramatic way.
The San Antonio Police Department partnered with several local agencies, including VIA Metropolitan Transit, Texas Department of Transportation, City of San Antonio’s Transportation and Capital Improvements, and Metropolitan Planning Organization, to produce a series of 30-second public service announcements.
Each of the five PSAs, shot partially in black and white, features an actor standing in a cemetery.
In a voiceover narrative, the actor tells the tale of how the person who is being portrayed died.
All of them lost their lives in accidents as pedestrians, usually not crossing in designated crosswalks.
The ads also feature other actors, portraying grief-stricken family members.
At the end of each PSA, San Antonio police Chief William McManus gives a brief warning to “Walk safe, San Antonio,” or “Drive safe, San Antonio.”
"You watch it and you actually get a little choked up watching them,” said McManus. “It was intentional because we hope to be attention-grabbing. Everybody can relate to losing a loved one."
SAPD figures show eight people have died crossing local streets and roads so far this year.
Last year, 50 pedestrians were killed in accidents that were blamed, not only on people ignoring crosswalks, but distracted drivers.
McManus said ticketing traffic violators no longer is the only answer.
"It's not going to get better by just using the enforcement end of it,” he said. “So we've got to try and educate the public."
In order to make sure the message reached everyone, McManus even recorded one of the PSAs in Spanish, reading his portion of it phonetically.
"We tried to hit the demographics for the entire city, leaving no one excluded," McManus said.