VW produces eerie, interactive anti-texting PSA

Persuading people to put down their phones while behind the wheel is an ongoing struggle for companies, police departments, your mom and just about everybody who has a vested interest in your not dying.

And yet, people still do it. Perhaps this interactive PSA from Volkswagen will do a bit of good. In a video that's quickly going viral, a crowd of moviegoers enters a theater and gets ready to enjoy a flick (hopefully not "Blended").

The lights dim and what looks like a commercial begins to roll. It's a first-person-POV video of somebody driving. Just motoring along, la dee da. Not much going on. The seconds tick by, the crowd is lulled into boredom, until everybody in the audience receives a "location-based" text message from someone behind the scenes.

As soon as the moviegoers take their eyes off the commercial to reach for their phones, the car swerves off the road and crashes. The audience members gasp and then are silent as they ponder what just happened.

The point is clear: Don't text and drive, because even a moment of lost concentration can have serious consequences. Less clear is whether this is a real PSA with "unsuspecting moviegoers" (as the video claims) or if the texting addicts were in on the prank.

This PSA is the latest in a long line of videos aimed at frightening drivers into not texting. Like VW's version, past examples from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Honda focus on how one moment can change — or even end — a life.

Here's the full spot:

Follow Mike Krumboltz on Twitter (@mikekrumboltz).