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ROME (AFP) – An Italian public service message urging young drivers to put down their smartphones drew plenty of attention for the wrong reasons on Wednesday as the actors failed to wear their seatbelts.

The video produced for the Italian Transport Ministry features four young women travelling in a car when the front seat passenger shares a video on her phone.

The announcer offers the driver a choice: watch it now or later when she is no longer behind the wheel.

“Make the only choice possible, because this is about your life and the lives of others,” wrote Deputy Prime Minister in charge of transportation Matteo Salvini in a post on X to launch the social media campaign.

When the driver chooses to watch the video the car gets into an accident, while when she chooses to watch it later the accident is avoided.

But viewers quickly noticed a problem.

“Matteo Salvini, the young women forgot to buckle up,” centre-left Democracy Party lawmaker Giulia Pastorella pointed out on X, formerly Twitter.

When asked by AFP, the Italian Transport Ministry acknowledged a “possible mistake” in the social network campaign meant to draw attention to the top three causes of accidents by young drivers: use of smartphones, excessive speed and driving under the influence.

PHOTO: ENVATO
PHOTO: ENVATO

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