A television advertisement for Harvey Norman promoting Irish mattresses opened with an aerial view of a Harvey Norman delivery truck driving on a country road. The truck rounded a wide bend and was shown driving over the single white centre line.
The complainant, a driving instructor, considered that the advertising was promoting a dangerous driving manoeuvre.
The advertisers said that the purpose of the advertisement was to promote their Irish mattress range, supporting Irish jobs and the Irish industry. They said that the full advertisement ran for 30 seconds and the opening scene that featured the truck was two seconds long. They did agree that it appeared that the truck had inadvertently gone over a white line, however, they did not consider that they had breached any provision of the Code. They advised that they had discussed the matter with their advertising department and all advertisements that include vehicles in them will be managed to ensure that there are no breaches of road traffic regulations.
The ASAI Executive reviewed the Rules of the Road Road Markings Section, extract below (1) –
Single or double continuous white lines along the centre of the road.
What they mean
These divide two lanes of traffic traveling in opposite directions. All traffic must keep to the left of the line (except in an emergency or for access).
The ASAI Executive also sought an opinion from the Road Safety Authority (RSA) on the advertisement. The RSA advised that the truck was travelling over the white line which was contrary to the Rules of the Road and posed a potential danger to oncoming road users.
(1) https://www.rsa.ie/Documents/RotR%20BOOK%20for%20web%202019.pdf page 72
The Complaints Committee considered the detail of the complaint and the advertisers’ response. The Committee welcomed the advertisers’ undertaking for future advertisements that featured vehicles.
The Complaints Committee noted that the scene featuring the truck had been very short, however, the truck had been shown driving over a continuous white line. The Committee noted the requirements of the Rules of the Road and that driving over a continuous white line was contrary to the rules of the road. While noting that the depiction had been unintentional, it was nevertheless portraying an unsafe practice, and the Committee therefore considered that the advertisement was in breach of Section 3.24 (a) of the Code.
The advertisement should not appear in its current form again.