Chances are, flipping through the channels on TV, you’ve seen the Nissan Altima commercial of a father racing a school bus to drop his child off at school on time. Many would see the advertisement as just another car sales pitch, but at Brindisi, Murad, Brindisi & Pearlman public safety is very important to us and we view this commercial as irresponsible and dangerous to the community.
The advertisement shows a father bringing his son to the bus stop, only to see the bus driver close the doors before the boy could get on. The man looks at his son for approval, and proceeds to race down the streets, passing the school bus several times, to arrive at school ahead of the school bus and on time. The school bus pulls in front of the school just as the child is exiting the Nissan Altima, and the bus driver shakes his head in disbelief after having been defeated in the “race” to school.
There are so many things wrong with this advertisement, but we’ll first start with the obvious. With this commercial, Nissan is promoting unsafe driving habits. The father receives his son’s nod of approval as he speeds through the streets, without any regard to his son’s safety or school bus safety. Speeding is an illegal act that can lead to a traffic ticket, hefty fines, or even worse, a deadly accident. In 2008, there were 37,261 speed related traffic fatalities in the United States. Speeding accounts for 31% of all fatal crashes and kills 1,000 Americans each month. Yet, Nissan believes it is acceptable to show a father asking for his son’s approval, before racing down the streets with his child in the backseat.
Drivers are encouraged to slow down when in the presence of a school bus. In this Nissan commercial, the father isn’t slowing down and doesn’t even use a turn signal. In my opinion, the reckless driving promoted in this commercial doesn’t impress me or even entice me, as a consumer, to buy a Nissan Altima; rather it outrages me that Nissan is depicting a father and son in a speed race with a school bus! This is all around a really bad message to the motoring public! And, is one that should not be accepted!
This advertisement has received backlash with bus drivers and transportation safety groups across the country. Nissan is stereotyping the bus driver as lazy and cranky and not willing to help his students arrive to school in a timely and safe manner. Executive Director of the National Association for Pupil Transportation, or NAPT, Mike Martin wrote an open letter to Nissan to describe his outrage with this stereotypical depiction of a bus driver. “As the world’s largest pupil transportation association and a representative of the 625,000 men and women that care deeply and work passionately to ensure the safety, health and general well-being of the 25 million American students that ride a school bus to and from school every day, we were dismayed – angry, frankly – when we first saw your ‘School Bus Race’ television commercial.”
He continued by stating that America’s largest and safest form of mass transportation is in fact, school buses. “The school bus is considerably safer than riding in the family car, even a Nissan Altima.” A USA Today article revealed that in the years between 2004 through 2013, 340,039 fatal motor vehicle accidents occurred. Of those, 1,214 or .4% were school-transportation-related. Those yellow school buses are the safest way to transport children to school and Nissan clearly did not do their research before releasing this misleading commercial. Martin urges those upset with Nissan to repost his letter to Nissan’s public Facebook page, seen here. However, at Brindisi, Murad, Brindisi & Pearlman…we want to do more.
We have created an online petition for Nissan to remove its dangerous advertisement from all media outlets. Please show your support by signing and sharing the petition on Change.org. Help us in promoting safe driving habits and teaching Nissan a much-needed lesson.
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