Today, texting is an almost inescapable act — we do it all the time, at any moment. We text at dinner parties while we’re with friends, we text in class during lectures, we text in movie theaters even when we’re not supposed to. Texting is so innocuous, so quick, that we tell ourselves: It only takes a second to text, so why not do it?
Werner Herzog’s chilling new documentary tells us to think again.
Sponsored by AT&T, Herzog’s 30-minute documentary From One Second to the Next explores the very real consequences of texting while driving. Through Herzog’s penetrating lens, we see a young boy left paralyzed after a woman runs a stop sign, almost an entire family killed in a second of negligence, and the difficulties of a family forced to care for a woman who can no longer live on her own. It’s a gripping and devastating work, largely due to its evenhandedness: The documentary not only shows us the suffering of the victims, but also the suffering of the perpetrators – ordinary people who find themselves, in the midst of a momentary and mundane act, suddenly responsible for the deaths of innocent people.
From One Second to the Next is part of a national campaign by AT&T and other phone service providers to raise awareness on texting and driving. The film will be distributed to and screened at more than 40,000 high schools, in addition to hundreds of safety organizations and government agencies. According to the National Safety Council, almost 1.6 million car crashes each year involve cell phones.
From One Second to the Next is worth a watch. Though the message of the documentary is unbearably clear — don’t text and drive — what distinguishes this documentary and makes it so effective is its subtlety: There are no grand judgments about its subjects, no vilification of the perpetrators. Herzog highlights that the fatal consequences of texting while driving can happen to anyone, that accidents happens precisely when we don't suspect it, and that the one moment you decide to text while driving can change your life and someone else’s forever.