There is no doubt that using a hand-held cellular device while driving can be deadly. In fact, many states, including California, have enacted legislation banning motorists from using hand-held devices while driving in an attempt to minimize the number of drivers who are killed in distracted driving car accidents every year.
Despite the law prohibiting the use of hand-held devices, however, drivers continue to take their lives, and the lives of others, into their own hands. Not only do motorists continue to send texts, compose emails, eat, apply makeup and engage in other distracted behaviors, they attempt to take selfies and continue to post them on social media sites.
It is alarming how many posts come up after a simple search on popular social media platforms. For example, Instagram has more than 3,800 posts under #drivingselfie, more than 1,900 under #drivingselfies and more than 9,700 under #drivingtowork. Facebook, Snapchat and Twitter pull up similar results.
In some cases, drivers’ selfies are the last picture of a person before they end up in a horrible car accident. Selfies also show boaters, pilots, motorcyclists and others operating machinery.
Selfies and distraction
When drivers take selfies, they are engaged in all three types of distractions. These include:
- Cognitive distraction: Occurs when drivers take their focus off the road
- Manual distraction: Occurs when drivers remove their hands from the steering wheel
- Visual distraction: Occurs when drivers take their eyes off the road
Drivers must remove their hands from the steering wheel and take their hands off the road to get their phone to the right position and snap a selfie. Furthermore, their focus is not on the road, but on the task at hand.
When drivers try to complete two complex tasks at the same time, their focus is split between the two tasks. There are moments where the driver may not concentrate on the road at all. This distraction can delay drivers’ response time, which may lead to a catastrophic car accident.