Unfortunately, our multi-tasking society has carried those behaviors over to driving, which has resulted in an uptick in distracted driving collisions. We eat, talk on the phone, text, read maps, apply makeup, fiddle with the car controls, radio or GPS, talk to passengers, reach down to pick up a toy or bottle dropped by a child, or turn around to see what the children are up to in the back seat—and all while we are cruising down the road at 70 mph, or driving in heavy city traffic. As if those behaviors were not bad enough, an alarming new trend has come to light. Drivers are now taking selfies with their smartphones while the car is traveling down the roadway. That’s right, selfie caused car accidents are now a problem.
Driving Selfies Being Posted to Social Media
As if taking a photo of yourself while driving is not idiotic enough, many drivers then share their selfies on social media. Instagram shows literally thousands of posts under the hashtags #drivingselfie, #drivingselfies, #drivingtowork, and even #Ihopeidontcrash. A Twitter search will also yield thousands of driving selfies. No matter how dexterous a person happens to be, it takes at least one hand to operate the phone camera as the camera app is opened, the shot framed, and the shutter button pressed. As you can imagine, those concerned about highway safety are not particularly thrilled about the new driver selfie trend, and with good reason. Imagine taking a photograph of yourself as you drive a 3,000-pound vehicle down the road at 50, 60, or even 70 mph. Not only do driver selfies put the shutterbug’s life in danger, they also put the lives of other drivers and their passengers at risk.
Young Drivers More Likely to Take Selfies and Text While Driving
Lest you think people are only taking selfies in their cars, selfies are surfacing across social media of those driving a motorcycle, a boat, and even a plane. Particularly for the 16-20-year old demographic, the smartphone is rarely far away. The siren song of the “ping” of a new text or a social media post, or the ringtone of a particular caller can be hard to resist. Yet those who are actually caught in the act of taking a selfie while driving could find themselves being ticketed by a police officer. In many states, using a cell phone while driving—unless the phone is tethered to Bluetooth or some other form of hands-free system, is illegal.
Colorado Laws Regarding the Use of Cell Phones and Cell Phone Cameras
In the state of Colorado, the fines for texting have increased, however texting while driving in Colorado is actually not illegal, so long as it is not done in a “careless or imprudent manner.” So, while the law regarding texting and driving is not as strict as the law in many other states, the penalties if you are caught texting in a careless manner have increased, and, if you are caught driving carelessly while texting, not only will you pay a $300 fine, you will also receive a whopping four points on your driver’s license. There is no specific Colorado law regarding taking a selfie while driving, however if you are driving carelessly or imprudently while doing so, you could find yourself facing a careless or reckless driving charge.
Wearable Devices the Next Targets for Law Enforcement?
A San Diego woman received a ticket for driving while wearing a headset known as Google Glass, which projects Web content on a tiny screen above the user’s right eye. In the state of California, it is against the law to watch television while driving, and the officer found the law broad enough to believe watching Google Glass while driving fell within those parameters. Regardless of whether a driver is using a wearable device, snapping a selfie, texting or talking on the phone, these are all distractions which have no place being used in a moving vehicle. Toyota released a “Don’t Shoot and Drive” campaign, aimed directly at selfie-obsessed, Instagram posting drivers. One ad shows a totaled car edited with various Instagram filters. If you are involved in an accident in which the other driver was distracted in some way—or was taking a selfie—it is important that you speak to a knowledgeable Colorado personal injury attorney as quickly as possible after your wreck.