'Blindmeters'– Happiness Brussels, an FCB Alliance, Shows the Results of Texting while Driving

You miss a lot when you text behind the wheel. But how much exactly? Now you can just see for yourself. Happiness Brussels, an FCB Alliance – in partnership with OVK/PEVR (Parents of Road Victims) – has launched Blindmeters.com, a website that turns Google Maps into a text editor and allows you to type on any road. A specially designed font connects with speed limitations of the road you are typing on and stretches to the exact amount of meters you are “driving blind.”

The results are eye opening: One character at 90km/h makes you miss 19.75 meters. That makes 26.33 meters at 120km/h. Needless to say, your text messages are longer than you think: "Almost home" is 10 characters, but 289 meters as well. "On my way," 7 characters, but 236 meters. And these are just the shorter kind of messages people keep texting behind the wheel. Longer messages are quickly reaching 1 kilometer. Stunning, keeping in mind that 1 fraction of a second of inattentiveness can have serious consequences.

Happiness’ road safety campaign connects different databases, layered on one website. Thomas Coliers, Head of Technology noted, “the website combines data from different map sources which allows us to render text along roads on top of satellite imagery. One source is used as the primary visual layer for the map, another source allows us to use the geometry data of the roads, together with speed limits and other important data to be able to “write” on these roads. The font in the website is custom made for the purpose of being able to dynamically stretch.”

This platform is supported by a fully-integrated media campaign, with a television and cinema commercial, and social films of people walking the distance of their last text message. The campaign began in Belgium and will spread throughout different European countries.

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