As the old saying goes “there’s a time and place for everything.”  Every time you blink an eye, someone is snapping a self-portrait know as a “selfie” from their hand-held device.  Sounds innocent enough, right?  Maybe so, as long as it’s not from behind the wheel of a motor vehicle.  This is not the time, nor the place, to be distracted.

Taking a “selfie” while driving is a form of distracted driving.  It requires one to reach for their phone, open the camera, and take a picture.  The act of taking a “driving selfie” not only recklessly endangers the driver, but endangers any passenger in their car, as well as other drivers and passengers on the road.  According to Distraction.gov, snapping a “driving selfie”, while traveling at highway speeds of 55 mph, keeps a driver’s eyes off the road and distracts the driver for five seconds. That’s like driving the length of an entire football field, blindfolded.

A recent National Highway Traffic Safety Administration figure shows approximately 660,000 drivers using electronic devices each day across the United States.  With the “driving selfie” craze being a more recent fad, there are no statistics directly linking it to traffic accidents and fatalities…yet.  Therefore, we have to look to statistics on distracted driving to see how dangerous it truly can be.  According to the U.S. Department of Transportation:

  • More than 3,300 deaths are caused by distracted driving every year
  • Distracted drivers are three times more likely to get into an accident
  • 80% of drivers admit to using their phone while driving

These are astonishing numbers.  What’s more astonishing than these statistics are the number of hashtags that refer to driving to tell part of a story.  According to a November 2014 article by Nationwide, the following driving-related hashtags were among the most common on Twitter and Instagram:

  • #driving – 40 million+ posts
  • #drivinghome –  80 thousand+ posts
  • #drivingtowork – 16 thousand+ posts
  • #drivingselfie –  21 thousand+ posts
  • #drivingselfies – 5 thousand+ posts

In 2014, a 32-year-old North Carolina woman died after slamming her car head-on into a truck while posting selfies on Facebook.  According to authorities, Courtney Sanford crossed the center median of a busy road just after making a post, hit a recycling truck and died. Further inspection of her cell phone revealed pictures posted from her phone at 8:33 am.  911 received the first calls about the deadly crash at 8:34 am.  Her last words?  ‘The happy song makes me HAPPY.’

Whether snapping a “driving selfie”, sending a quick text message, or simply dialing a phone number, a distracted driver can cause an accident resulting in catastrophic injuries to other innocent passengers and drivers.  Many states are attempting to reduce the number of injury and fatality crashes caused by distracted driving by enforcing stricter laws on the use of hand-held devices while driving. If you or a loved one has been injured in a distracted driving accident, contact Rahmati Law Firm, LLC to learn more about how you can hold an at-fault driver accountable for his or her negligent actions.

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