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Selfies: A Deadly Distraction for Young Drivers

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There seems to be no end to the creative things drivers do behind the wheel, in addition to driving — eating, texting, reading a book, applying makeup, and snapping selfies, self-portraits taken with their smartphones while their vehicles are in motion.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drivers become distracted when they focus on any activity other than driving. Experts have broken the practice down into three basic areas of distraction:

  • Manual, distractions that happen when motorists remove their hands from the wheel
  • Visual, when motorists remove their eyes from the road
  • Cognitive, which causes motorists to remove their focus on driving

Like texting, taking selfies is one of the most dangerous activities a person can do while driving because it requires drivers to become distracted in all three areas. This results in motorists with little or no attention focused on the road, greatly increasing the likelihood of a car accident.

The majority of people involved in this disturbing new trend are teenagers and young adults. The Huffington Post recently reported that a 32-year-old Clemmons, N.C. woman was recently killed after she caused a severe accident was taking selfies and updating her Facebook profile just prior to her crash. According to investigators, the woman crossed the median of a major road and collided head-on with a large truck just moments after posting a message about a popular song: her post appeared with an 8:33 a.m. time-stamp and the first calls to authorities reporting the accident followed at 8:34 a.m.

Distracted Driving Remains Deadly Problem

According to the Department of Transportation, more than 3,300 deaths are caused by distracted driving accidents every year. Although it only takes a few seconds to send a text or snap a photo, when done while driving a 2,000 pound motor vehicle down the road at 50 or 60 miles per hour, a motorist could receive a ticket, or worse: cause a serious accident.

In Colorado, using a cellphone while driving is prohibited for any reason for drivers under the age of 18, while no drivers, no matter how old, are allowed to text while driving, with a few exceptions.

Colorado’s texting bill prohibits the use of a cellphone for texting except in the case of an emergency, which is defined as a situation in which the person “has reason to fear for such person’s life or safety or believes that a criminal act may be perpetrated against such person or another person,” or someone who is reporting a “fire, a traffic accident in which one or more injuries are apparent, a serious road hazard, a medical or hazardous materials emergency, or a person who is driving in a reckless, careless, or otherwise unsafe manner.”

Image by Mieke Bosma


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