Using your phone, in almost any capacity, while driving a motorized vehicle, is very silly indeed. Yet, despite being in control of a heavy, metal death box at the same time, people still do it. One man, Brian Singer (who apparently works for Facebook, and shouldn’t be confused with Bryan Singer, director of The Usual Suspects), wants to stop you, and is using some good, old public shaming to do so.
Singer runs the TWITspotting.com website (that’s Texting While In Traffic, and not This Week in Tech), where pictures of offending drivers are posted. It’s primarily focused on drivers in San Francisco, whom he observes during his regular commute. So far, not all that shaming. After all, you’d need to find the website in order to be “shamed.” But Singer doesn’t stop there.
He has personally purchased advertising space on 11 billboards around San Francisco, on which he publishes images taken from the site. People’s faces, and shameful texting activity, are clearly visible, and it’s not all that hard to work out what car they’re driving either. The shaming factor has suddenly been exponentially increased. The ads are stark and frightening. There is no text, or even the name of the website to take away from the idiocy on display.
In California, like many places, sending messages on a phone while driving is illegal, and should you be caught, you’ll get fined. Not that this seems to be much of a deterrent, at least according to the evidence presented by Singer. Will his campaign be any more effective? The timing is certainly good, as according to Gizmodo, and appropriately enough, April is Distracted Driver Awareness Month.
Singer’s campaign is sure to cause a stir for other reasons too. None of the faces are obscured in the images, which while effective for shaming, won’t win him many friends. Plus, the pictures are taken from other vehicles, and although he says he is only a passenger, other contributors to the site may not be quite so diligent. We can see a second shaming site, PWIT (that’s Photographing While in Traffic), popping up in response.
You can check to see if you’re on TWIT here. If not, and you text while driving, look out for your face on a billboard soon.