Watch Werner Herzog’s From One Second to the Next, an Eye-Opening Film Reveals the Dangers of Texting While Driving

Soon after I start­ed dri­ving, back in high school, I got a mobile phone capa­ble of SMS mes­sag­ing. As with any tech­nol­o­gy not yet wide­spread, it then seemed more nov­el­ty than con­ve­nience; I hard­ly knew any­body else with a cell­phone, much less with one capa­ble of receiv­ing my mes­sages. But in the inter­ven­ing dozen years, every­one start­ed tex­ting, and the prac­tice turned from odd­i­ty into near-neces­si­ty, no mat­ter the time, no mat­ter the place.

Now, hav­ing tak­en for grant­ed the abil­i­ty to instant­ly send short mes­sages across the city, coun­try, or world to one anoth­er, soci­ety has, inevitably, begun to focus on the asso­ci­at­ed dan­gers of tex­ting. But few of us have thought quite as hard about them as has Wern­er Her­zog, direc­tor of Aguirre, the Wrath of God, Fitz­car­ral­do, Cave of For­got­ten Dreams, and now a doc­u­men­tary against tex­ting while dri­ving. But don’t peo­ple already know the dan­gers? Haven’t pub­lic ser­vice announce­ments cau­tioned them not to do it, and stiff, fee-threat­en­ing laws gone on the books across Amer­i­ca?

Judg­ing by the sud­den pop­u­lar­i­ty of Her­zog’s new 35-minute film From One Sec­ond to the Next, spon­sored by cell ser­vice provider AT&T, a Ger­man New Wave lumi­nary’s words car­ry more weight. “I’m not a par­tic­i­pant of tex­ting and dri­ving — or tex­ting at all,” many have already quot­ed him as say­ing, “but I see there’s some­thing going on in civ­i­liza­tion which is com­ing with great vehe­mence at us.” Despite not hav­ing dri­ven reg­u­lar­ly since high school, I do on my rare occa­sions at the wheel feel that strange­ly strong temp­ta­tion to text in motion. Hav­ing watched Her­zog’s unblink­ing take on the real-life con­se­quences of doing so — unpayably high med­ical bills at best, paral­y­sis and death at worst I don’t see myself giv­ing in next time. Whether or not it sim­i­lar­ly effects the stu­dents of the 40,000 schools in which it will screen, it marks a vast improve­ment upon all the murky, heavy-hand­ed cau­tion­ary videos I remem­ber from my own dri­ver’s ed days. Per­haps what Her­zog did for Bad Lieu­tenant, he should now do for that class­room clas­sic Red Asphalt.

You can find From One Sec­ond to the Next in our col­lec­tion of 550 Free Movies Online.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Por­trait Wern­er Her­zog: The Director’s Auto­bi­o­graph­i­cal Short Film from 1986

An Evening with Wern­er Her­zog

Errol Mor­ris and Wern­er Her­zog in Con­ver­sa­tion

Wern­er Her­zog Has a Beef With Chick­ens

Col­in Mar­shall hosts and pro­duces Note­book on Cities and Cul­ture and writes essays on lit­er­a­ture, film, cities, Asia, and aes­thet­ics. He’s at work on a book about Los Ange­les, A Los Ange­les Primer. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall.

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Comments (5)
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  • Bruce D says:

    Her­zog’s cam­era is the ele­ment of this film that takes it from a PSA to a strik­ing tes­ta­ment that stings your heart. Bra­vo.

  • Bill Hastings says:

    Every one should be required to look at this film when they take a dri­ver safe­ty class, renew their dri­ver’s license, or get a tick­et no mat­ter how small the infrac­tion. I know a young man who went to prison because he was tex­ting, hit anoth­er car and killed the dri­ver and his girl­friend who was in the car with him. What a waste, but you see peo­ple tex­ting all the time when you’re dri­ving.

  • Betty says:

    When I got my license it was required to keep both hands on the wheel.

  • Matt says:

    It’s all about aware­ness.

  • Dave Brooke says:

    If we tru­ly care about the safe­ty of oth­ers and hope that they will care equal­ly about our safe­ty, then none of us would even be tempt­ed to text while dri­ving.

    Cor­rect defen­sive dri­ving safe­ty habits require us to keep both hands on the steer­ing wheel and both eyes on the road at all times, while in the dri­ver’s seat, and nev­er allow any kind of dis­tract­ed dri­ving to keep us from doing so.

    Thank you for mak­ing this video avail­able. I am request­ing all our fam­i­lies to view it.

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