back to article You TWITS! Facebook exec erects billboards shaming texting drivers

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, …


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  1. MooseNC

    And taking pictures of other drivers while going 60+ ISN'T distracting from driving???

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      He said they were taken as a passenger.

      1. Grease Monkey

        Re: RTFA

        "He said they were taken as a passenger."

        Maybe they were, but he's encouraging others to submit their own TWAT pictures. If he doesn't realise that this will be seen by some as encouragement to take photographs while driving then he's an idiot.

        1. JDX Gold badge

          Re: RTFA

          The people that dumb are almost certainly the people already texting while driving anyway.

    2. Michael Habel Silver badge

      Why the hate?

  2. NoneSuch Silver badge

    Every modern phone has a GPS unit. Have the screen turn off at anything over 10MPH and only send / accept phone calls if there is a hands free device attached.

    As for a $20 fine, that's just silly. $2000 might save a life.

    1. Dave 27

      So I won't be able to send a text as a passenger in a car, or as a passenger on the train/bus?


      1. keithpeter

        10 mph is fine for trains/buses round here.

        Its the tortoises I can't stand, especially when they follow me round.

    2. Charles Manning

      Handsfree is no better than hand held.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      So you turn off the GPS

      People who want to text in motion will find a way around a lamebrained technological limitation. Well, unless you're advocating making it illegal to be able to turn off your phone's GPS.

      Damn, I'd delete that so the NSA wouldn't see it and get a great idea on how to track us even better, but they probably saw the moment I typed it so I might as well post it.

      1. DropBear

        Re: So you turn off the GPS

        You do realize that I keep my GPS turned off 99.99% of the time, and even then, only the nav app (not Google) and the constellation checker gets access to it, right?

        1. Number6

          Re: So you turn off the GPS

          only the nav app (not Google) and the constellation checker gets access to it,

          At least you hope so. In practice you have no way of guaranteeing that.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      You must be a politician to suggest such a brilliant idea.

  3. alain williams Silver badge

    He is just annoyed that they are texting ...

    and not updating their facebook page.

    1. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: He is just annoyed that they are texting ...

      If I had a Farcebook page I could certainly update it with my phone whether driving or sitting on a bus/train. The action looks the same, the real problem is people using their devices to the point of distraction when driving, it doesn't matter if they are twits or farcebookers.

      One of my friends uses the GPS on his phone a great deal to get around Madrid, the voice command function often doesn't work too well, so he is in heavy traffic, lost and typing a destination into his phone, something that almost every Madrid taxi driver does too.

      All cabbies should do 'The Knowledge' for their locale just like London cabbies.

      As for the rest of us we could try reading a map before we begin our drive.

      1. Grease Monkey

        Re: He is just annoyed that they are texting ...

        We all know that the pictures could equally depict people web browsing, playing games or indeed browsing/updating facebbok. However this twat thinks that he can con us into believing that these drivers are all texting simply because he doesn't want to be seen to be saying that facebook is bad in any way.

        The point is that all phone use (including hands free) whole driving is potentially dangerous. Some idiots don't use their phones until they are driving. I saw a woman in the car park at work today walk to he car, get in, start the engine, fasten her belt, then get he phone out, dial and then drive off with the phone pressed to her ear. Why could she not make the call on the walk to the car? Why could she not make the call before she set off? Because for some people using a phone has become part of driving.

        Something else have seen a lot of drivers doing is actually using their phone as a hand held satnav while driving. That's just plain weird, but I suspect some of the people in those pictures might be doing just that.

      2. JDX Gold badge

        Re: He is just annoyed that they are texting ...

        "As for the rest of us we could try reading a map before we begin our drive."

        Or put your destination in the sat-nav BEFORE setting off, by the same token.

  4. Gene Cash Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Finally, a facebook exec doing something useful for society!

    I don't think I've ever heard of someone getting a ticket for texting/talking on the phone. At least certainly not here in Florida, where it's just as illegal as California. I've seen cops completely ignore someone texting away next to them.

  5. Malcolm Weir Silver badge

    Mixed signals...

    Looking at the TWIT's page, while the twat Singer claims that everything was taken on the freeway, it's also clear that at least some of his "gotchas!" are of people in stop-and-go traffic. If you are mostly stationary, only a self-absorbed loon (although for a "facebook exec" that's probably redundant) would equate the risks of texting with the risks if you happen to be doing 60.

    Plus, of course, most of his pics seem to be of people looking at a screen. Could be reading a text, could be reading a map, could be choosing a playlist, could be trying to decide whether to answer that call on speakerphone, could be reading facebook updates.

    1. Mark 110

      Re: Mixed signals...

      I think the point is that if you are driving a car you are supposed to be watching the frigging road . . .

    2. Steve 129

      Re: Mixed signals...

      You shouldn't be doing ANYTHING that distracts you when supposedly in control of a car etc...

      I often get pissed at people f*cking around with their phones in "stop and go" traffic or at traffic lights that fail completely to notice the "go" part !!!


    3. Oninoshiko

      Re: Mixed signals...

      This point kinda bothered me, too. If these are taken in rush hour on the 405 in LA (I'm told)... they weren't moving anyway.

    4. usbac

      Re: Mixed signals...

      The law here in Nevada says that you can't have your mobile phone in your hand while driving.

      I agree with an above post that the fine should be a lot more than $20. If it were up to me, it would be $1000 for a first offense, and no license for a year on the second one. I commute about two hours each day, and I'm f***ing tired of dodging all of the idiots doing something on their mobile phones.

  6. Herby


    The traffic on 880 is always backed up. Even more so in commute times. Of course you could try the approach to the bay bridge in the morning, it is ALWAYS backed up.

    Me? I use Foothill Expressway, but the light at El Monte has a short cycle, and I have to wait twice! Bummer!

    The coat is on the back of my chair!

  7. Old Handle

    How can the folks submitting these pictures be so sure the people they saw were actually texting? They could have been making an emergency call (say reporting a reckless driver on the road) or using the phone as a GPS, which according to a recent ruling is not illegal in California.

  8. Eddy Ito

    One more step

    Is he collecting statistical data on the vehicles? It may be worth noting which cars are less likely to have texting drivers and whether those cars have bluetooth as standard. Just curious because my wife occasionally uses the bluetooth connection in the car to dictate texts and notes and it does a reasonable job speachifying (it's really not speaking) incoming texts although many are in Chinese and it can make some rather funny mispronunciations.

  9. Anomalous Cowturd

    Re: Piloting a ton of metal...

    Do you mean motorcycles, because I'm sure you have to look pretty hard to find a merkin car that only weighs a ton.

  10. Don Jefe

    21st Century Investments

    In today's financial news: Brian Singer, most famous for his 'Don't Text and Drive' public awareness campaign, today announced he has been the sole source of funding for a small San Jose software company. The company is focused on creating software for automobile and mobile phone manufacturers that recognize when a driver is attempting to text with the car in motion. Public testing is scheduled to begin this summer with an IPO target of Q4 2014.

    In a related story: Brian Singer, most famous for his 'Don't Text and Drive' public awareness campaign, today announced he is being investigated by the SEC, IRS and FBI for a variety of criminal activities. Under investigation are allegations including Singer's use of Facebook and Facebook assets to promote a non-profit organization with the intent to profit from those promotions and of structuring financial transactions to obfuscate the amount, source and destination of funds used in those transactions. Tax evasion, wire fraud, conspiring to commit interstate fraud and providing false information to authorities.

    According to the NSA observation team assigned to Facebook Singer may come out of this with minimal damage as Singer responded favorably to allowing the NSA to embed anti-terror in the software produced by one of his investment vehicles. If found guilty on all charges Singer faces up to 11 years in prison on financially related crimes and 453 years for failure to allow the NSA to install their software. It is expected he will comply.

  11. ashdav

    If you are driving your car then that is all you should be doing.

    If you, are farcing or twatting your "friends" then pull over and do it to your hearts content.

    This "SOCIAL NETWORKS" rubbish will end soon anyway when the plebs realise that everything they FACE or TWEET will come back to them.

    It's already started, do a search using your favourite engine.......

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      do a search using your favourite engine.......

      I've started the V-Twin, but I'm not sure what direction to start my search in...

  12. Winkypop Silver badge

    Helmet cam

    Over here, the motorcycle plods have a HD video cam bolted to their helmets. They ride up along side, film you texting/talking on your mobile then the cops signal you to pull over. It's been highly lucrative successful.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Where's Apoptosis when you need it?

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I think babies & toddlers should be banned from cars. They are a massive distraction.

    I speak as someone who once had a motorbike write-off because a mother was disrtacted by her wailing child behind her as she pulled into the main road in front of me.

    Some people don't need a phone to be a liability on 4 wheels....

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Appropriate punishment

    A couple months ago while riding the bus home we were queued up to get onto the freeway.

    Driver next to us was busily texting/emailing/fondling his phone.

    I was looking a different direction when the crashing sound got everyone attention.

    Mr Distracted’s brand new Tesla had gotten too friendly with the high-end BMW in front of it.

    I’m guessing the repairs cost way more than ticket would have and hoped he had a high deductible.

  16. Rampant Spaniel

    Replace the airbags with spikes :) This should instantly result in improved driving standards.

  17. EJ

    Add two zeroes to those California fines and then you're in the ballpark for something that will help cut back on the manslaughter-waiting-to-happen situations.

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