It would be a long time before such innovations as seat belts, baby seats, and airbags were introduced. These safety measures do a fine job of minimizing human damage in motor vehicle accidents, but they can’t prevent the collisions themselves.
To remedy this, Ford, the company responsible for the Model T and hundreds of motor vehicles since, recently enlisted Jaffee and his fellow cartoonists, MK Brown and Bill Plympton, to educate the public on the dangers of distracted driving. Turns out this preventable scourge rivals intoxication and hazardous road conditions as a leading cause of accidents.
Jaffee’s take, animated by J.J. Sedelmaier, above, will never be mistaken for filmmaker Werner Herzog’s harrowing anti-texting documentary PSA, From One Second to the Next, or even Jaffee’s own anti-drunk driving fold-in from MAD’s March 1975 issue.
Instead, he offers a gentle, child-friendly metaphor in which an uncaged bird becomes a havoc-wreaking distraction. (Fortunately, everyone’s wearing his seatbelt, and the little boy is riding in back, in compliance with CDC recommendations.)
National Lampoon alum, Brown, tiptoes closer to the true causes of distraction, with the alien-themed segment, above, also animated by Sedelmaier. If it seems likelier that the alien’s earthling wife might do her henpecking via text rather than actual call these days—well, sometimes dramatic liberties are warranted to get the message across.
Unsurprisingly, Plympton’s self-animated contribution is the most graphic, a direct descendent of his fabulously grotesque cartoon primers 25 Ways To Quit Smoking and How To Kiss. Moral? Assuming you want to keep your teeth in your head, the vegetable matter wedged in between can wait ’til you reach your destination.
Ayun Halliday is an author, illustrator, and Chief Primatologist of the East Village Inky. Her plan for avoiding accidents is to refrain from driving whenever possible. Follow her @AyunHalliday