Tram ads are bullying you into killing your loved ones

Okay, so maybe you aren’t ACTUALLY killing your loved ones (and if you are, I would advise you to head directly to the police station and turn yourself in).

I saw something the other day while driving in Melbourne that shocked me so much my mouth actually dropped open and I yelled out that I was going to move immediately and that the people who came up with the tram campaign should immediately be fired and banished to America instead… I don’t personally believe that was an overreaction, but I suppose we will find out soon enough if you agree with me.

If it hadn’t been bad enough that the government (particularly in the most locked down state in Australia) was convincing us that we should do what they say in order not to basically kill our loved ones with Covid (despite the majority of cases actually not ending in death… but let’s leave that debate alone and move on shall we?) they are back to FEAR mongering in the advertising I have noticed below….

So, I suppose the argument now is that if you are in an accident involving a tram pedestrian (a tragedy 100% that I will agree is absolutely terrible!) you are basically killing your best friends mum. Okay, so that isn’t exactly what the ad is saying, but it is really trying to impress upon you that the woman stepping off the tram that you could possibly kill by speeding by too fast (certainly a bad thing!) is somebody’s mother. Well, guess what… every person who steps off that tram is somebody’s “something”.

They are someones sister (another ad I saw as well…), brother, father, loved one, neighbour, co-worker (liked or disliked) – everyone stepping off that tram is a somebody to someone. This level of manipulative guilt and shame placing however, is uncalled for.

Imagine if you will, a terrible scenario where the worst has happened – you have been in a car accident and Gladys has stepped off the tram, and you have either devastatingly injured her, or accidentally killed her. Thanks to this ad, you have instantly been upgraded in your guilt from accidental death of a stranger, to accidental death of your best friends, second cousins, aunt’s mother’s, dog walkers dentist….

While I do think we should be aware that our actions ALWAYS have consequences (seen or unseen at the time), and we need to be careful PARTICULARLY around trams with people getting on and off quite often, I think this level of shame and guilt is unnecessary. Adding onto what someone would already feel bad in doing, by having this layer and level of personal attack on a driver could almost do the opposite it intends. Being so concerned to not mow over Gladys and her book club other fellow mothers and grandmothers, that you are driving too slowly (also unsafe), or causing more road rage issues behind, or even becoming so overwhelmed with anxious potentials that you stop driving your car in the middle of the road and cause a large traffic jam.

While I admit that most of the things I have stated in this post are quite extreme – both in nature and delivery – in the moment that I saw this advertisement, I was disappointed. Firstly that we needed something this extreme to get peoples attention. I have personally witnessed complete and utter disregard for road rules on many many occasions. While I admit that I am not a perfect driver, for the most part I am one of the minority on the road that actually stick to the posted speed limit and not going five or ten over (I see you people who do that and get frustrated because I refuse to speed along with you… don’t worry I don’t hold it against you).

But I also think it is sad that manipulative fear tactics seem to be the way to really get hold of people and bring them to a realisation of their actions and the consequences they have. It would really be lovely for people to put up advertisements that say “don’t speed,” or “be careful of passengers in trams” and that be enough for drivers to pay attention. Instead of needing the tactics above – personalising a potential victim – and Aussies just doing the right thing on the roads. Believe it or not, it is actually against the law to speed (so no offence, but if you do speed – you’re technically a criminal), and though tram and driving laws are confusing (especially for me), if you’re driving around them you should know what to do and be that extra thirty seconds later to your destination.

Let’s not be in such a hurry to get where we’re going that Gladys and her book club pay the price, but also let’s not resort to using “Gladys” to get the point across in the first place.

Stay safe out there guys!
Christy Grace

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