#SelfiesWhileDriving: A Dangerous Phenomenon

Everywhere you look, people are taking “selfies” – from sporting events to graduation ceremonies. But the reckless act of taking a self-portrait while driving can endanger you, your passengers and others on the road.

The selfie fad is so new that statistics linking it to traffic accidents don’t yet exist. However, the U.S. Department of Transportation cites more than 3,300 deaths every year caused by distracted driving. Taking a selfie is a distraction from driving – reaching for your phone, opening the camera app and taking a photo. Distracted drivers are three times more likely to get into a crash, yet 80% of drivers admit to using their phone while driving.

The rise in driving hashtags

Hashtags that refer to driving tell part of the story. The following driving-related hashtags are among the most common on Twitter and Instagram  – accounting for thousands of posts this year alone:

#Driving: 40 million+ posts

#Drivinghome: 80 thousand+ posts

#Drivingtowork: 16 thousand+ posts

#Drivingselfie:  21 thousand+ posts

#Drivingselfies: 5 thousand+ posts

Selfies while stopped are still unsafe

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s Russ Rader noted that taking a selfie even while stopped at a traffic light is dangerous. “It is still distracting,” he said, “and driving requires your full attention.”

A common accident involving vehicles stopped at a red light or traffic sign is a rear-end collision. While you can’t control the actions of the driver behind you, taking a selfie can distract you from moving quickly enough to avoid being hit. It also can delay your response once the traffic light turns green – causing you to hit the vehicle in front of you.

Plus, in states that have deemed it illegal to use a cell phone while operating a vehicle, you could be ticketed.

Ad focuses on the potential selfie aftermath

Toyota’s “Don’t Shoot and Drive” campaign uses Instagram to call out the dangers of taking selfies while driving. For impact, it uses images of a totaled car edited in various Instagram filters.

When you’re behind the wheel and you’re holding a phone, you’re a distracted driver. And no conversation, text or selfie is worth the risk.