Distracted at the wheel: Now SMS writers come to the car pillory


Now SMS writers come to the car pillory

This is the man who invented the net pillory

With a new app, cyclists and pedestrians can now report parking offenders to the public order office. Heinrich Strossenreuther calls it self-defense against the failure of the authorities – critics speak of Stasi methods.

Source: The World


A Facebook designer is appalled by the number of drivers texting at the wheel. That’s why he photographs them and exposes them on his website. He hopes for many imitators.

S.hard times for drivers. After the Petzer app wegeheld.de The operator of the American website twitspotting.com has started their service, with which citizens can take photos of parking offenders, post these pictures publicly on the Internet or blacken the parking offenders directly to the responsible regulatory office and everyone can assess a driver’s driving style via a rating portal one step further.

On the side, drivers who write text messages behind the wheel are exposed with relish. The TWIT project (Texting while in Traffic, German: writing SMS while driving) was initiated by a Facebook web designer. Brian Singer got the idea with the compromising pictures while commuting to work on the busy 101 freeway in San Francisco in the morning.

Singer is appalled that so many drivers are being distracted by their cell phones. “There are around 20 SMS writers for every nasal pick. That’s an unofficial estimate from me, ”says Singer to the online site Gizmodo.

The anti-SMS activist has garnished his page with all sorts of data and facts that are supposed to show how dangerous it is to be distracted at the wheel. The NHTSA estimates that around 660,000 American drivers are using a cell phone or other electronic device at the wheel at any given moment. In the US state of California, writing a text message is punishable by a fine of at least $ 76.

On a mission against the cell phone at the wheel

In Germany, almost every second driver reads text messages at the wheel. After all, every fifth person also writes short messages while driving, according to a survey by the electronics association Bitkom. One in five also reads their e-mails in flowing traffic. Around half of the respondents stated that they use their mobile phones to make calls while driving.

Brian Singer wants to stop them and has a mission. He calls on other road users to do the same and send in more photos of drivers persistently writing SMS. And if the images are a little blurry, that’s no problem either.

Singer can edit them for better identification. But they shouldn’t be behind the wheel when taking photos, as Singer assures, by the way, that he took his photos from the passenger seat.

Singer has no concerns that he intrudes into a person’s privacy and violates data protection guidelines. “Anyone who is on the 101 freeway cannot expect privacy. The only thing I do is: I take photos in public. "

The risk of accidents increases dramatically

Singer goes even further: he has the photos enlarged and posted on large billboards along the highways or in the cities. "For something to happen in people’s minds, it has to become a movement."

A study by the American Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI) shows how dangerous it is to deal with short messages at the wheel. According to this, typing an SMS increases the risk of an accident 23 times.

On average, the test subjects looked at the small display of the cell phone for between 4.6 and six seconds instead of the street. At 80 km / h, this blind flight is roughly the length of a football field. Just dialing a phone number increases the risk of accidents by a factor of 2.8. In contrast, speaking and listening alone did not show a higher risk.

Cell phone in hand is always prohibited

Talking on the phone or texting at the wheel is punished much more severely in most US states than in Germany. It may even be forbidden to write an SMS if it is clear that the addressee is currently behind the wheel and there are reasons to believe that he will read the message while driving.

In Germany there is a general ban on cell phones at the wheel, which is regulated in Section 23 Paragraph 1a of the Road Traffic Act: "The driver of the vehicle is prohibited from using a cell phone or car phone if he picks up or holds the cell phone or the handset of the car phone. This does not apply when the vehicle is stationary and the engine of motor vehicles is switched off. "

Violations are punished with 40 euros and one point in Flensburg, from May 1st the fine increases to 60 euros. The Regional Court of Munich II also ruled that sending an SMS should be taken into account to aggravate the penalty if a motorist is responsible for a traffic accident immediately afterwards. (AZ: 1St RR 67/03)

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