Despite warnings about the dangers of distracted driving and using a cellphone while behind the wheel, many drivers continue to engage in this hazardous practice. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 3,166 people died in distracted driving car accidents in 2017, and thousands more were injured in similar incidents. In addition to sending texts, composing emails and calling friends, a surprising number of drivers dare to snap selfies of themselves behind the wheel and post their pics on social media platforms.
A quick look on Instagram will show an alarming 1,868 posts under #drivingselfies and 3,727 posts under #drivingselfie. Approximately 9,700 posts show up under #drivingtowork. Searches on Facebook and Snapchat bring up the same results, and drivers are not the only ones to take dangerous pictures behind the wheel. Pilots, train conductors and boaters are also joining in on this dangerous trend. Sadly, many have died after posting their final selfie on social media.
When people take their hands off the steering wheel to manipulate their phone and snap a selfie, they are unable to react to certain hazards, including objects in the road, bad weather conditions, construction, traffic lights, pedestrians, animals and bicyclists. Snapping a selfie also requires drivers to take their eyes off the road, which causes a visual distraction as well. Finally, when a person is concentrating on a task other than driving, it causes a cognitive distraction. Since snapping selfies involves visual, manual and cognitive distractions, it is especially dangerous and could lead to a catastrophic car accident.