Last month, I announced that Toyota was going to pull all of its Prius car chase ads, which the automaker was supposedly going to do because of the currently sensitive and controversial nature of police activity. At least, that’s what I’d heard, but Toyota wouldn’t confirm.
Sure enough, the ads were not just removed from the air but also from the Toyota YouTube channel. I wasn’t quite on the mark as to the reason why: Jonathan Farris, a public safety advocate who owns the PursuitForChange.org website, has been petitioning Toyota to pull down the ads ever since they were first revealed because they feature a car chase.Jon’s son, Paul Harris, was killed on Memorial Day weekend in 2007 by a driver who was being pursued by a Massachusetts State Trooper for an illegal U-turn violation. The death of innocent bystanders isn’t something we often think about when we imagine car chases, but a quick look at the stats reveals that police pursuits claim hundreds of lives and injure thousands each year. Furthermore, they cost billions in liability costs, and other than death by firearm, a car chase is the second-deadliest event a police officer can face in his career.