Bad parking job? Text the driver through the license plate

The CurbTXT service in San Francisco lets people text car owners using their license plate numbers.

Send text to CurbTXT
Be a good samaritan and warn a car owner. Screenshot by Amanda Kooser/CNET

Trying to find parking in San Francisco sometimes feels likes a car-based version of "Survivor." It's not pretty. Cars block driveways, drivers forget to curb their wheels, lights get left on, and meters run out. These are all reasons why you might want to contact a vehicle's owner. If everyone in San Francisco signed up for CurbTXT, then it would be easy to get in touch.

Drivers can sign up for CurbTXT by registering their license plates and phone numbers. A sticker on the car gives people an anonymous way to contact the driver through text messaging by referencing the plate number. The service forwards the message to the owner.

CurbTXT is a sweet idea. It could turn San Francisco into a wonderland of parking good deeds, helping people avoid fines and giving them the opportunity to move their vehicles before they get towed.

CurbTXT faces an uphill battle as far as adoption. It also opens up the possibility of prank texts like "OMG your car is full of monkeys!!!" To combat that, users can report inappropriate messages and abusers will be blocked.

According to the Evernote blog, dozens of texts have been sent through the service since it launched last fall. That's not much, but CurbTXT founders have chatted with people from the San Francisco board of supervisors about getting city support for the project. Until then, the service is getting users through flyers and word-of-mouth.

(Via Opportunity Notes)

About the author

Freelance writer Amanda C. Kooser covers gadgets and tech news with a twist for CNET's Crave blog. When not wallowing in weird gadgets and iPad apps for cats, she can be found tinkering with her 1956 DeSoto.

 

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