Nova Scotia·New

Twitter account outs bad drivers

Texting or applying makeup while driving? Your photo may end up on Twitter.

Texting or applying makeup while driving? Your photo may end up on Twitter.

A Halifax man created an account called @hfx_drivers to shame people who flout the law or are distracted behind the wheel.

"Ever been really ticked at distracted/dangerous drivers? I'm a walking commuter and I see it all the time. I'm tweeting pics of it, tweet me your pics too!" he writes.

The account —Hfx's Worst Drivers — features photos of drivers talking on cellphones or reading while navigating traffic.

It could serve as a warning to others, said Const. Brian Palmeter, spokesman for Halifax Regional Police.

"When people realize it's not just the police out there, that members of the public are also calling in with these issues, then people may be a little more aware and maybe make better choices," he said.

It has been illegal for Nova Scotia drivers to text or talk on a hand-held cellphone since 2008. But between this January and July alone, Halifax police nabbed 919 motorists for illegal phone use.

Palmeter said the Twitter account may not result in a conviction. A clear shot of the driver is necessary, and the photographer would also have to testify about when and where the image was taken.

Warning possible

Barring that, he said, police could still deliver a warning.

"If we can identify the person there's nothing saying we couldn't come forward and call that person and identify ourselves and tell them what we've witnessed and provide a verbal warning," he said.

While some people may consider the photos an invasion of privacy, lawyer David Fraser, a specialist in privacy issues, said they're legal.

"It can cross the line into harassment if they just decide they're going to follow you up and down Spring Garden Road with a camera in your face, but otherwise as long as they're not interfering with what you're doing, you really don't have an expectation of privacy," Fraser said.

The man behind the Twitter account wants to remain anonymous. He worries that people may lash out at him if they see their photo.