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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