Although using a hand-held cellphone while driving is illegal in New York, many motorists continue to engage in the dangerous practice. At any given moment in the United States, more than 600,000 drivers can be found texting, checking social media, composing emails and even snapping selfies.
It is difficult to believe people would take their eyes off the road to take and post a simple selfie. However, thousands of drivers take their lives into their own hands by doing so everyday. In addition, they risk the lives of everyone else on the road as well.
What are the types of distractions?
Taking pictures while behind the wheel is especially dangerous, as it involves all three types of distractions: manual, visual and cognitive, according to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention. Not only are drivers forced to remove their hands from the steering wheel to navigate the social media site and snap the perfect pic, they must also take their eyes off the road to find the right position and pose for the photo.
The entire process takes drivers’ focus off the road completely, which reduces the response time required to react to certain hazards, such as bad weather conditions, objects in the road, pedestrians, bicyclists, traffic signals and other motorists.
What is the risk?
A quick search of social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, shows selfies drivers posted while behind the wheel, with hashtags #Drivingselfie #Drivingselfies and #Drivingtowork. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that 2,841 people were killed in distracted driving car accidents in 2018. Of those deaths, 14% involved cellphone use.