The trend of taking “driving selfies” can result in catastrophic motor vehicle accidents.
Thanks to the proliferation of smart phones, wireless cameras and other mobile, Internet-enabled devices, Americans are taking – and sharing – more photos than ever before. Many of us have multiple social media accounts on sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest, and we regularly post pictures or comments on those same sites. The sense of connectedness that we get from social media plays an integral role in our lives, giving us the opportunity to remain in touch with long-distance friends and family in a way we couldn’t just a few years ago.
As the saying goes, though, there is a time and place for everything. Taking a “selfie” and posting it online is perfectly fine while you are on vacation or sitting at home. Doing it behind the wheel of a moving car, though, is a good way to get yourself or someone else killed in a tragic car accident.
Regulatory bodies and private agencies taking notice
Both the federal government (through its Distraction.gov website) and the American Automobile Association (AAA), a respected auto industry group with millions of members across the country, have been speaking out about the hazards of distracted driving – particularly text messaging on hand-held or hands-free devices – for years now. The government hasn’t taken the logical step of cautioning drivers about the hazards of the rapidly growing selfie craze, but the AAA has taken notice of this dangerous trend.
Literally, millions of behind the wheel self-portraits have been posted on such sites as Twitter and Instagram with the hash tags #driving and #drivingselfies. The AAA has issued several alerts to members and non-members alike aimed at discouraging the practice. For example, AAA Northern New England reports that taking a 2-second picture while driving at highway speed keeps the driver distracted for 176 feet of roadway, the equivalent of 1.9 basketball courts, .59 soccer fields, and .49 football fields. Contrast that with filming a 15-second video behind the wheel: that results in the driver taking his or her focus off the road for 1,320 feet, a distance equal to 14 basketball courts, 4.4 soccer fields, and 3.7 football fields.
The toll of distracted driving
Distracted driving isn’t a new phenomenon; it’s been happening for years by drivers too busy eating, grooming, reading, talking on the phone or switching music selections to pay attention to traffic and road conditions. In fact, distracted driving results in more than 3,000 deaths and hundreds of thousands of serious injuries (like brain or spinal cord injuries, broken bones and internal injuries) in motor vehicle accidents annually.
Whether a distracted driver is snapping a selfie, sending a text, programming a GPS device or dialing a number, a car accident he or she causes can result in catastrophic injuries to innocent people. If you or a loved one has been hurt in a distracted driving accident, speak with a personal injury attorney to learn more about holding the at-fault driver accountable for his or her negligent actions.