Safety Advocates Beg Road Users Not to Take Selfies
When given time to think and the technology to be creative, young people can come up with some pretty interesting things to do behind the wheel. The latest trend to take part in while driving is taking selfies- self-portraits that are taken on a mobile phone.
These selfies can be seen posted all over social media sites such as Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Conducting a search for the hashtag #drivingselfie on Instagram will return over 300,000 results, and similar hashtag search such as #drivingselfies and #drivingtowork pull up more than 2,000 more results. In each selfie, the user appears to be smiling and having fun. Some selfie enthusiasts even take photos of their passengers or other road users. But are selfies while driving really such a good idea? Probably not.
Highway safety advocates aren’t impressed with the new trend, and it’s not hard to see why. By taking photos of ones self or other while operating a vehicle, motorized boat, plane, or motorcycle, the people who do this are putting dozens of lives at risk.
The risk comes from being distracted by the photos and not paying attention to the road. This can result in crashes, injury, and death. There are more than 3,300 deaths each year in the United States due to distracted driving- this includes selfie taking. Taking a selfie, much like checking a text message or changing the radio station, only takes a few seconds, but those few seconds can be crucial.
Currently, if a motorist is caught using a cellphone to take a photo while operating any type of moving vehicle, he or she will be given a hefty fine. Some people, however, believe that this punishment is too light and won’t be enough to keep road users from repeating the offense.
The phenomena that is selfie taking while driving has become so popular that Toyota released an ad targeting drivers who do this, trying to persuade them not to take photos while driving. The ad shows a car that has been destroyed during an accident that is edited using Instagram filters.
“Driving is a serious matter” says Jackie Gillan, the president of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety “…image if we, the public, found out that a pilot had crashed because they were taking selfies…people would be appalled”.