Feeds

You TWITS! Facebook exec erects billboards shaming texting drivers

In Soviet San Fran, billboards advertise you – to the cops

Eight steps to building an HP BladeSystem

A Facebook exec is so sick of drivers texting behind the wheel that he now photographs them and puts the images on billboards to shame them.

"I've been blown away by the number of people texting while in traffic, on the freeway," Brian Singer, manager of communication design at Facebook, told Gizmodo. "For every nose picker, there's 20 texters. Unofficial estimation by me."

The images come from the Texting While in Traffic (TWIT) project, a website Singer set up in February to shame drivers into putting down their phones while barreling along at high speed. Aside from displaying the images on 11 billboards around San Francisco, California, Singer also hopes to recruit others to submit their TWIT pics, and he said that if enough people join in then it may cause freeway texters to think twice.

El Reg would hope that those who participate don’t take their photos while driving themselves, and Singer said all his shots were taken as a passenger. We can also see a few privacy problems in such panopticon vigilantism, but Singer said that he wasn't concerned about people's right to anonymity.

"I don't think people driving on 101 have the expectation of privacy," he said. "I could be wrong, but the police need to be able to see them using phones and breaking the law, so all I'm really doing is taking photos in a public place."

TWIT billboard

Hopefully the billboards won't be too distracting

Texting while driving is certainly illegal. Here in California there's a specific law [PDF] against it, with fines of $20 for the first offense and $50 for each subsequent infraction. That's not much when you consider drivers are taking their eyes off the road while piloting a ton of metal and fuel at 65 mph down the freeway, and it's not rare to see someone doing it on the state's roads.

The cops are cracking down a little, although not to the extent of their East Coast colleagues. In New York, unmarked police SUVs prowl the streets looking to catch drivers in the act – but with mixed results since it is legal to briefly look at the satnav feature on a phone while on the road.

Insurance investigators are also on the case. It's now common practice to request mobile phone logs for crash investigations and if you text "Traffic on Route 880 terrible #FML" seconds before a prang then pointed questions will be asked. ®

Reducing security risks from open source software

More from The Register

next story
Motorist 'thought car had caught fire' as Adele track came on stereo
'FIRE' caption on dashboard prompts dunderheaded hard shoulder halt
Delaware pair nabbed for getting saucy atop Mexican eatery
Burrito meets soft taco in alleged rooftop romp outrage
Japanese artist cuffed for disseminating 3D ladyparts files
Printable genitalia fall foul of 'obscene material' laws
Carlos: Slim your working week to just three days of toil
'Midas World' vision suggests you retire later, watch more tellie and buy more stuff
Brit Rockall adventurer poised to quit islet
Occupation records broken, champagne corks popped
Apple: No, China. iPhone is NOT public enemy number 1
Beijing fears it could beam secrets back to America
Canuck reader threatens suicide over exact dimensions of SPAAAACE!
How many As? Reg hack's writing cops a shoeing
prev story

Whitepapers

Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.