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First Texting, Then Tweeting—Now Selfies Are Distracting Teen Drivers

You’ve probably seen many drivers talking on the phone or glancing down at a screen during your daily commute. Maybe you’ve even been guilty of a few of these practices yourself. But are you likely to succumb to the latest smartphone craze of taking pictures of yourself while cruising down I-435? 

Although thousands of teenagers pledged to put down their cell phones and watch the road during National Distracted Driving Month, the greatest temptation may not be talking or texting. Taking one-handed self-portraits, or selfies, using cell phone cameras is the latest distraction putting teenaged drivers at risk of causing serious crashes.

A recent CNN report has said that the prevalence of phones with both cameras and internet access allows any driver to instantly take and upload a photo to his social media account—and an alarming number of these are taken while the person is driving.

Who Is Doing it?

  • Many drivers volunteer their risky behavior by sharing the incriminating photos on Facebook or Twitter. Popular photo-sharing site Instagram has thousands of posts tagged #drivingselfie, #drivingtowork, and incredibly, #Ihopeidontcrash.
  • It’s not just drivers who are in on the craze. There are plenty of pictures of people piloting boats, riding motorcycles, and even some behind the controls of an airplane.
  • Exact data for selfie infractions are difficult to collect because, like texting laws, the majority of tickets written for the offense occur after the driver has crashed.

Why Is it Dangerous?

  • Distracted driving is the fastest-growing factor in car accidents involving serious injury.
  • Most cell phones require at least one finger to click the shutter and up to three more fingers to focus the image, meaning drivers have at least one hand off the wheel for minutes at a time.
  • It only takes four seconds to cause a distracted driving accident—far less than the time required to choose and upload a photo.
  • After a picture is taken, drivers may choose to add a hashtag or caption, adding the dangers of texting to an already time and attention consuming risk.

Was the driver who struck you quick to hide his cell phone from the police officer after the crash? This could be an indication of distracted driving. Learn more about how to investigate the details of your accident in our free guide: Don't Wreck Your Injury Claim: 10 Rules of the Road to Win Your Accident Case in Missouri and Kansas.

James Roswold
James Roswold is a Kansas & Missouri personal injury, workers comp, and medical malpractice attorney.

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