Taking selfies while driving puts everyone at risk

22185068_sWhen Chicago motorists get out on the road, they are always taking a risk. However, drivers often believe that others will do their best to drive in a safe, responsible manner most of the time. New trends among social media users are putting this belief to the test by encouraging drivers to become even more distracted. Many individuals are now taking selfies, or self-portraits, on their smartphones and posting them to various social media sites, all while operating a motor vehicle. According to the Huffington Post, the trend is widespread and growing. An evaluation of all hashtags related to taking selfies while driving shows that 3.1 million posts, possibly more, have been created in which drivers are showcasing their selfie-induced distracted driving.

Consequences of the trend

The Huffington Posts recently reported on a Clemmons, North Carolina woman who died as a consequence of her use of photography and social media while driving in her car. Police discovered that the 32-year-old was posting selfies and messages on social media sites just moments before she crossed the median on a busy road and collided with an oncoming truck. Her status on one site was updated at 8:33 a.m. and the first call to authorities regarding the accident came in at 8:34 a.m.

Distracted driving

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drivers are considered to be distracted whenever they engage in an activity that is separate from driving when they are operating a vehicle. Driver distraction includes visual, cognitive and manual distractions, all of which can be engaged in separately or in combination with the others. Like texting, taking selfies while operating a motor vehicle requires attention from all three areas of distraction, so it is one of the most dangerous things a person can do while on the road.

Drivers seem to become more distracted every day. A report from the CDC states that 3,331 people were killed in car accidents that were caused in whole or in part by a distracted driver in 2012. That number was 3,267 in 2010, indicating that this completely preventable problem is continuing to increase over time.

Those most at risk

The CDC also compiled data on those most likely to engage in these risky behaviors. They found that distracted drivers come in all ages despite the common misconception that teens and young adults are the only ones participating. Out of all those surveyed in the study, 69 percent said they had used their cell phones while driving to talk to someone in the past 30 days, and 31 percent indicated that they had sent or read text messages while driving in the same time period. Despite the obvious dangers, individuals continue to put their lives and the lives of other motorists on the line every time they engage in these distracting practices.

 

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