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New Road Safety Campaign Uses Google Maps to Illustrate How Many Meters You Miss When You Text and Drive

Press Release - Brussels , 22 October 2018

"Almost Home," a message of 10 characters…and 289 meters, according to this road safety campaign

You miss a lot when you text behind the wheel. But how much exactly? Well, now you can just see for yourself: 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.

A new take on road safety campaigns: Driving blind.

Texting and driving is dangerous. We’ve all heard it before in numerous road safety PSA campaigns. We still do it, though. Because "it’s just a quick text message," just a "little post on Facebook or Snapchat, or Whatsapp, or whatever…" But, honestly, does. "a quick text message" even exist? Because when you send text messages behind the wheel, you are driving blind.

Geoffrey Hantson, CCO of Happiness Brussels, an FCB Alliance, said: “In order to change that behavior we wanted to literally let people experience how many meters they are actually driving blind. Because even though most people know, nobody really realizes how many meters they are really missing.”

Data, data, data

This campaign connects different databases, layered on one website. Thomas Coliers, head of technology added: “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.”

Covered in the whole of Europe

The campaign was created by the duo of Happiness Brussels and OVK/PEVR (Parents of Road Victims), who took home Bronze at this summer’s Cannes Lions for their “Behind the Numbers” radio spot. The 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 initiated in Belgium and will spread amongst different European countries.


Client​: OVK/PEVR (Parents of Road Victims)

Contacts​: Koen van Wonterghem, Ellen Ruys

Agency​: Happiness, an FCB Alliance 

Executive Creative Management: ​Karen Corrigan

CD:​ Geoffrey Hantson 

Creative Coach:​ Katrien Bottez 

Creation:​ Roxane Schneider, Pieter Claeys

Group Account Director​: Hans Smets 

Account Manager​: Tine Van Hasselt 

Design: ​Dries Lauwers 

Typographer: ​Edouard Schneider ​– Edsnor

Agency Producer: ​Bart Vande Maele, Sophie Gunsbourg

Digital Production​: Bliss Entertainment 

Digital Producer: ​Kris Van Wallendael 

Head of Technology: ​Thomas Colliers 

Sound Production Company​: Raygun 

Composer: ​Peter Baert 

Film Production​: Latcho Drom 

Producers: ​Jeroen Berx, Efrosini Spanoudis

Director: ​Christopher Ross-Kellam 

DOP: ​Edgar Dubrovskiy 

Grading:​ Moxy 

Head of Motion​: Remke Faber 

Editor Social Film: ​Simon Schuurman, Matthias Vandenbosch



About Happiness

Happiness, an FCB alliance, is a creative connectivity agency based in Brussels, Belgium, and Saigon, Vietnam. The agency is well known to design-connected brands that trigger emotions that trigger business. The very multicultural crew of Happiness have won numerous awards, including Grand Prix at Cannes Lions and Eurobest. Some of their work is even featured in the V&A Museum, London. The agency believes in the power of creativity, the power of humanity, and in happiness, that fuels both. Happiness Brussels currently works for Quick (Burger King), VOO (one of Belgium’s biggest telco companies), Toyota, Tuborg, Parents of Road Victims, (Belgium’s biggest classified ads platform), DVV Insurances, NIVEA, Labello, Hansaplast, Eucerin, Somersby and Carlsberg.

About Parents of Road Victims 

Parents of Road Victims was founded in 1994 after some parents/peers united themselves. Their primary goal is to provide support and guidance to families and peers, if they feel the need for it. Besides that, Parents of Road Victims has taken the responsibility to advise professionals, individuals and, most of all, governments, about the issues of road safety. Therefore, Parents of Road Victims has set up SAVE Charters, where individuals, associations, companies and governments can engage themselves to a more safe-road situation for everyone. Parents of Road Victims is a non-profit association, located in Brussels.