Why a ‘driving selfie’ could be the last photo you ever take

Girl with long hair and glasses driving

Photo credit: Camila G.

In 2013, Oxford Dictionaries crowned ‘selfie’ as one of their words of the year. Evolving from a niche social media term into a mainstream word for a self-portrait, celebrities including Barack Obama, the Pope and Meryl Streep have been featured in ‘selfies’.

While selfies are increasingly popular, a new survey has found that one in 14 people admit to taking a selfie while behind the wheel of their car. Hundreds of motorists are now posting pictures of themselves while driving on social media, putting themselves and fellow road users at risk. Keep reading to find out more…

Driving selfies could kill

A new survey from Confused.com has found that one in 14 motorists (7 per cent) admit to having taken a photo of themselves while driving. The poll also found that 4 per cent used Snapchat to send the photo to their friends while at the wheel.

The website also discovered that in a recent 30-day period, 287 tweets were tagged with #drivingselfie and #drivingselfies.

Car insurance company AAA has warned people against taking selfies while driving, saying ‘it can kill’. AAA’s research shows taking a photo for two seconds while driving means your eyes are off the road for nearly half a football field.

With six-second videos popular on Vine and 15-second videos, the latest feature on Instagram, drivers are distracted for the distance of up to nearly four football fields.

“Don’t let that driving selfie or video be the last photo you ever take. You can certainly kill yourself as well as kill other people as well,’ said Rolayne Fairclough from AAA.

Fairclough said it depends on the speed a person is travelling, but that five seconds is a ‘great deal of distance especially if you’re in inclement weather or in traffic things can happen and you really need to be focused on the road’.

Drivers also admit mobile phone use at the wheel

The Confused.com survey also revealed that over a third (36 per cent) of motorists admit to using their mobile phone when driving, mainly to make or answer calls (75 per cent) and send or check texts (43 per cent).

And, despite so many breaking the law, only 8 per cent say they have actually been caught by police using their phone behind the wheel. And, of those who have been caught, over half (57 per cent) admit to continuing to use their phone while driving after their brush with the law.

Institute of Advanced Motorists director of policy and research Neil Greig said: “Research shows that it is simply not possible to use a mobile phone in any way whilst driving and stay safe no matter how confident you may be in your driving ability.

“This seems to be another form of peer pressure to take part in the latest trend and the best way to avoid it is to give young people the skills to stand up for themselves and not follow the herd and post silly photographs online.

“It is also really worrying that many drivers caught using a phone are not learning the lesson.  The IAM want to see more traffic police out there catching bad drivers but this survey would seem to suggest not even that will stop those addicted to using their smartphones.”

 

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