“Driving Selfies” seem to be the latest trend among teen drivers. Teenagers are known to make some not-so-wise decisions, but this new trend comes with some serious dangers to themselves and others on the road.

Not all “driving selfies” that are posted on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. is necessarily a teen behind the wheel or actually driving at the time, but there are plenty who are operating a vehicle at the time the photo is taken. Instagram shows more than 3,727 posts under the #drivingselfie hashtag, more than 1,869 for the plural #drivingselfies, and more than 9,700 for #drivingtowork. Some users add the optimistic tag, #Ihopeidontcrash (source: CNN.com).

Jackie Gillan, president of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety says: “Taking a photo of yourself while you’re driving a 2,000-pound vehicle down the road at 50 or 60 miles per hour? That is putting your life in danger and putting the lives of those around you in danger” (source: CNN.com).

The “selfie” photos aren’t limited to just cars; there are photos floating around on social media of people operating boats, motorcycles, and planes.

The recent push to raise awareness about distracted driving has mainly been focused on texting while driving, but “driving selfies” are also becoming a large safety issue. Teenagers these days have constant access to phones, technology, and social media, and it is difficult for them to stay away from it, even when operating a vehicle. It is second nature for them to reach for that phone the minute they receive a message.

The phenomenon is alarming enough that Toyota has released a “Don’t Shoot and Drive” ad aimed at Instagram-happy drivers. The ad shows a photo of a totaled car edited with various Instagram filters (source: CNN.com).

More than 3,300 deaths every year are caused by distracted driving, according to the Department of Transportation. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), car crashes are the leading cause of death for teenagers. Alcohol, speeding, and not wearing seat belts are major factors, but distracted driving played a role in 12% of the fatal accidents.

“Driving is a really serious thing,” said Gillan. “Can you imagine if a pilot crashed and we found out that people in the cockpit were taking selfies? People would be appalled” (source: CNN.com).

As parents, it is important to remind our children about the rules and safety of the road. Educating young drivers about the devastating effects a careless decision can have may be what influences them to make the right choice.

If you or a loved one has suffered a personal injury due to the carelessness of a distracted driver, please contact Attorney Jim Brady and Associates, P.C. at: 508-660-8888 or visit us on the web at: www.attorneyjimbrady.com.