The South Dakota office of Highway Safety has had second thoughts about their latest public safety campaign, “Don’t Jerk and Drive,” which they premiered in early December 2014. Apparently somebody alerted them to the fact that the verb “jerk” can have more than one meaning.
The “jerking” they were alluding to was what you’d do to a steering wheel while on an icy road. And not…. the other kind of jerking. As George Costanza would have explained it: “You know…. I was alone.”
“Resist the urge to jerk the wheel,” a British lady narrator says in the unintentionally sexy commercial. “Besides, nobody likes a jerker.” Um… well, if you say so.
In a statement, Trevor Jones, the secretary of the Department of Public Safety, said that the ad was pulled last Thursday because “this is an important safety message and I don’t want this innuendo to distract from our goal to save lives on the road.”
We, for one, think this was a mistake. Not the double entendre. Yanking the commercial off the air at all. (And yes, we said “yanking.” Laugh it up, Beavis.)
Okay, so they made a mistake. Maybe this wasn’t the “jerking” they wanted to discourage. And sure, it’s a little embarrassing when your ad campaign evokes giggles from teenage boys (and grown men with the emotional maturity of teenage boys.) But does that make the message any less valid?
Shouldn’t drivers in South Dakota, and drivers everywhere, be discouraged from jerking and driving?
It’s a question that James Franco (i.e. “Dave Skylark”) asked in a new clip from the upcoming comedy The Interview—which opens Christmas Day. “Is that illegal?” he asks, when learning that Zac Efron masturbates 17 times a day, often behind the wheel of a car. Should there be laws to stop guys from “Working the machine and working the machine?”
We never thought we’d write this sentence, but James Franco has a point. There should be laws against working the machine while working the machine. And not just vague misdemeanors like “public lewdness,” but something that’s very specific. Something that says “If you masturbate in your car, we’re taking your license away. Like, for good. We’re that grossed out by this.”
Believe it or not, masturbating behind the wheel is a real thing that actually happens. We filed a full report a few months ago, asking the question that shouldn’t have to be asked but, okay wow, apparently some people aren’t clear on the difference between good ideas and bad ideas: “Should You Have Sex While Driving?”
We shared details on new research from the University of South Dakota, which revealed that, among other distressing statistics, 11 percent of guys admit to masturbating while driving. The key word in that sentence being “admit.” That percentage reflects the reality as much as the 12 percent of Americans who “admitted” to watching porn online, according to a Pew Internet & American Life study last year, represents reality. Which is to say, not even close.
If you want to have a really depressing afternoon, Google “masturbation” and “car accidents.” You’ll read stories about masturbating drivers cruising through Kmart parking lots, or while on the highway a little too close to tour buses. They’ve pleasured themselves while driving a bus filled with passengers (confused, justifiably pissed-off passengers) through the Lincoln Tunnel.
Sometimes they get caught before they reach, um, the finish line. (And their excuses are amazing. One auto masturbator, after being pulled over by police, claimed he was just tapping the steering wheel with his drumsticks.) But sometimes, the high-speed masturbation can have disastrous consequences. The late basketball player Eddie Griffin crashed his luxury SUV into a parked Suburban while masturbating. It wasn’t the car crash that eventually killed him, but it is the one everybody remembers. (“Eddie Griffin? Oh, you mean the basketball player who masturbated in his car?”)
Our point is, it’s a problem. It’s a legitimate traffic hazard that should be addressed, and if the South Dakota office of Highway Safety won’t say it, then we will. Don’t jerk and drive!
Not clear enough for you? Allow us to be blunt. Do not fiddle the flesh flute while driving.
We’re not kidding about this. If you’re in a functioning motor vehicle, and your foot is pressing down on an accelerator, it is not a good idea for you to be simultaneously liquidating the inventory, or hoisting your own petard. You want to go on a date with Fisty Palmer? Save it till you get to a room with curtains, and no wheels.
Why are you laughing? This isn’t a joke! If you’re operating any sort of four-wheeled transportation device, and you’re tempted to get into an argument with Henry Longfellow, you’re gonna regret it.
We’re being serious!