Selfies Causing Accidents in California

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Cell phone usage, which includes selfie taking, is one of the leading causes of distracted driving. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, at any given moment in the United States there are 660,000 people using cellular phones while driving.

It is estimated that being on the phone triples a driver’s chance of being involved in a motor vehicle accident. A “selfie,” which has recently been added to the Oxford Dictionary, is a self-portrait that is taken with a technological device like a cell phone or tablet.

Taking selfies while driving is a substantial problem that in many cases can lead to serious injuries or death. Individuals should focus on their hands while driving, what their eyes are doing, and what they’re thinking about; using a cellular phone while driving distracts individuals from being able to successfully do each of these three things. The most recent studies suggest that car collisions caused due to drivers who are taking selfies is a substantial problem in Riverside and the rest of the state of California.

Why Are Selfies Particularly a Problem in California?

A recent study shows that California is leading the rest of the states with the highest number of drivers who take selfies while driving motor vehicles. Some of the other top states are Nevada, Florida, and Hawaii. This study examines the prevalence of taking selfies while driving for every 100,000 residents. This study, which was conducted by the Auto Insurance Center, suggests that nearly four in ten drivers with smart phones are using these phones to access social media while driving.

The study conducted by the Auto Insurance Center also found that the use of hashtags increased by 80 percent from 2014 to 2015. Some of the most common hashtags that get attached to these selfies are #selfiewhiledriving which reportedly has over 5,000 posts and #drivingselfie which has over 27,000 posts. More confusingly, some drivers even appear to aware of the dangers presented by taking selfies while driving and have begun to hashtag some photos #hopeidontcrash.

Analysts at the Auto Insurance Center believe that a high number of tourists in the state of California might be at least partially responsible for this high rate of selfies taken while driving motor vehicles.

What Are the Dangers of Taking Selfies While Driving?

Perhaps the most confusing part of the taking selfies while driving phenomenon is that motorists feel the urge to do so in the first place. This activity provides little advantage while greatly jeopardizing the lives of motorists. The California Highway Patrol urges drivers to simply put down cellular phones and resist taking selfies while the vehicle is being operated. Many individuals fall into the trap of believing that selfies are okay because it only takes a short time in which to take a selfie. Even a car traveling at a relatively mild speed, however, can travel a substantial distance during the short time in which a selfie is taken. For example, if an individual takes a two second photo while driving at sixty miles per hour, the individual’s car will travel almost two times the length of a basketball court while the driver’s attention is off the road and focused on taking a picture. During this short time, there is a possibility that a hazard or dangerous condition could arise that the driver would be not notice. As a result, drivers who are distracted will be unable to respond to these situations in enough time.

The chances of this type of accident occurring is not a remote one, either. The Federal Department of Transportation reports that distracted driving causes more than 3,300 deaths each year. While it is uncertain how many of these accidents can be directly attributed to motorists who were trying to take selfies while driving, given the prevalence of cell phone usage while driving there is reason to believe that some type of cellular phone is attributable to many of these accidents. The age group that is affected the most by this disturbing trend of fatal motor vehicle crashes to cell phone use are motorists age 20 to 29, while the group that is the least affected are motorists who are over the age of seventy.

There is another dangerous element of taking selfies while driving is often overlooked by motorists in the state of California. This element is that the use of hand-held cellphones while driving is illegal for drivers in California. In fact, California is one of 14 states that prohibits drivers from using hand-held cellular phones while driving. For drivers who are under the age of eighteen, even the use of hands-free cell phones are prohibited. As a result, motorists who engage in taking selfies while driving are not only endangering themselves; these motorists are also breaking the law.
What is even more alarming, is that social media posts of selfies taken while driving appear to be on the rise. In 2011, this social media practice was barely used throughout the country. As of 2016, however, this practice has become frequently used in heavily populated areas. Motorists should also understand that the practice of posting selfies taken while driving to social media is used on weekends much more than during early in the week like Monday or Tuesday. As a result, motorists are advised to be particularly alert to this alarming trend while driving on the weekends when this practice is engaged in the most.

The perils of using cellular phones to text while driving is well known, but it turns out that the dangers of posting selfies to social media while driving is even greater. Motorists are strongly urged to never engage this practice and to simply wait until a motor vehicle is no longer used to take selfies. If you have been involved in a motor vehicle collision that included taking selfies or using a cellular phone while driving, you need the experience and talent of a seasoned car accident attorney. Do not hesitate to contact The Sargent Firm Injury Lawyers today.

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