One woman was texting "I'm on my way." Another man was typing out "I love you." And another can't even recall what he was writing.
Those three messages, typed by drivers at the wheel, cost five people their lives and an 8-year-old boy the use of his body from the diaphragm down.
The drivers' stories, and others', are the subject of a new, 35-minute documentary directed by acclaimed filmmaker Werner Herzog focusing on the perils of texting while driving. Herzog's “From One Second to the Next" profiles the victims of distracted driving and even features conversations with the drivers themselves.
The wrenching film expands on a series of short videos Herzog directed for a public awareness campaign, "It Can Wait." The campaign was sponsored by AT&T in an effort to curb the practice of texting while driving. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that 3,331 people were killed by distracted driving in 2011, and that "at any given daylight moment across America," 660,000 drivers will be using mobile devices while at the wheel.
Herzog, whose previous films include "Grizzly Man," "Encounters at the End of the World" and "Aguirre: Wrath of God," among many others, told the Associated Press that although he doesn't text himself, he was drawn to the project because the topic "has to do with catastrophic events invading a family."
"In one second, entire lives are either wiped out or changed forever. That kind of emotional resonance is something that I knew I could cover," Herzog told the AP. "I'm not a participant of texting and driving -- or texting at all -- but I see there's something going on in civilization which is coming with great vehemence at us."
The film premiere of "From One Second to the Next" will be held in Los Angeles on Thursday, Aug. 8, and the documentary, embedded above, will be distributed to over 40,000 high schools across the country.
"While I was driving, I decided that texting while driving was more important to me than those two men were to their families," recalls one driver, who side-swiped an oncoming car while he was typing on his phone, sending it careening into oncoming traffic. "Knowing every day that you killed two people is one of the hardest things that you can live with."