If you send text messages whilst you drive, then you are at a more significant risk of causing and being involved in a road traffic collision. Those are the facts. You cannot concentrate on driving a car and engage in hand-eye coordinated communications via a mobile device at the same time without a loss of concentration. Most of the time nobody will notice if you text and drive, but if you live in San Francisco and you use your mobile device whilst driving you could discover photographs of yourself plastered on a billboard.
A website has been collecting photos of people texting whilst driving their cars and some of those images have now found their way onto billboards throughout the region.
The project, called Texting While in Traffic (TWIT) is the invention of San Francisco graphic designer Brian Singer, who has agreed to relinquish his anonymity after Gizmodo contacted him regarding the matter.
Singer started the project after he recently started a commute along the 101 Freeway, where he could not believe how often he saw drivers using a cell phone. “I’ve been blown away by the number of people texting while in traffic, on the freeway…For every nose picker, there’s 20 texters. Unofficial estimation by me,” he says.
Singer collected the images of texting drivers at a website, which also includes stats about distracted driving and encourages readers to engage in “TWIT Spotting” by sending their photos as well. Singer requires that contributors to the website are a passenger and not a driver whilst taking their content! The billboards will hopefully show drivers in a very public way that they’re being watched and no doubt judged.
Texting while driving has been proven to be dangerous and is illegal, if caught the offence can carry a minimum $76 fine in California.
But, will the photographs shame people into changing their driving behaviour? Singer tends to think so. “My hope is that it will freak some people out and make them think twice before picking up the phone while driving…My greater hope is that it inspires others to start taking photos, too. If enough people started doing this, it could have a dramatic affect on people’s behaviour.” Singer continues, “I don’t think people driving on 101 have the expectation of privacy…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.”
The graphic designer has contacted some distracted driving organizations to try and pay for the billboards, but ended up funding them himself. There are 11 billboards, which are currently up throughout San Francisco, and they will be up until early April. That is fitting, as April is Distracted Driver Awareness Month!
As always, if you would like to leave a sensible comment, then please do so in the comments section below.
[Image via twitspotting]