By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – Brazil’s government has decided to pull the plug on its latest safe-driving campaign after the slogan “Good People Can Also Kill” received widespread criticism. According to the Presidency’s Communication Department (Secom) posters with the slogan were removed from several cities, but the campaign video will continue.
“The campaign advertisements deal with traffic accidents caused by the five most dangerous actions taken while driving according to Federal Highway Police statistics,” reads the statement by the federal government justifying the creation of the campaign.
“The government’s aim is to draw attention to attitudes that even ordinary people can have behind the wheel, without assessing the consequences.” According to officials the five dangerous actions include drinking and driving, speeding, irregular overtaking, using cellular telephones while driving and not using safety equipment.
Despite the justification, Brazilians took to social media to criticize the campaign’s slogans, such as “Those who plants trees in the city”, “Those who do volunteer work”, “Those who rescue animals on the street” or “The best student in the room” with the complement “can also kill”.
“A horrendous campaign of the Ministry of Transport, Ports and Civil Aviation, which tries, in a crazy way and with an absurd concept, to warn about the distraction at the wheel that can lead to traffic accidents, attaching it (amazing!) to goodwill volunteers (caregivers of the elderly, people who rescue abandoned street animals). It should be removed immediately from the air,” commented Sumara Mosque on the Transport Ministry’s webpage.
A few, however, like Emanoel Oliveira applauded the action. “About the campaign by the Ministry of Transport Good People Also Kill’. On the spot. The goal was achieved. Bothered a lot (of people) and launched the idea,” said Oliveira on his twitter account.
The campaign’s argument, according officials is that anyone can be reckless in traffic “Even unintentionally, any citizen can cause serious accidents and even traffic fatalities with small attitudes, such as sending a Whatsapp while driving, diverting attention from the streets by changing the music on the radio or overtaking in places of risk. Traffic deaths are among the top 10 causes of death in the country. It is this reality that the federal government wants to change,” argues the Ministry in its press release.
The campaign is part of the Rodovida (Highway Life) operation implemented at the end of 2016 to combat traffic violence and prevent and reduce the number of road accidents during the holiday season, school holidays and Carnival, when the movement is intense. The operation is an initiative coordinated by the Federal Highway Police (PRF), with federal agencies and ministries working together in a partnership with governments of states and municipalities.
According to a partial report, between December 23, 2016 and January 1, 2017 highway police recorded 2,769 accidents on federal highways, resulting in 2,868 injuries and 225 deaths.