It is stating the obvious but AAA had to warn and remind consumers that driving selfies can kill.
With the advent of social media and photo-sharing sites, young drivers have found a new distraction while behind the wheels through self portraits using their gadgets. The latest study by AAA found out that a driver occupied with taking a photo for two seconds or taking a video for six seconds is comparable to road inattention of 176 feet and 528 feet, respectively.
AAA Mid-Atlantic emphasized that a driver not focusing on the road can get killed or harm other people. The company monitored certain hashtags such as #drivingselfie, #drivingtowork, #drivingfast, and #drivingintherain on Instagram and Twitter and found out millions of photos and videos, some even showing speedometers that reveal the user was cruising fast while tinkering with their gadgets.
"The number one activity that should be occurring while you are behind the wheel is driving. Hundreds of thousands of people are injured each year as a result of distracted driving and these injuries and deaths are entirely preventable. Put the camera down and wait until you arrive at a safe destination. Don't let that driving selfie or video be the last photo you ever take," said manager of public and government affairs John Townsend II of AAA Mid-Atlantic in a press statement.
"A driver taking a photo for approximately two seconds takes their eyes off of the road for nearly two basketball courts, nearly half a football field, or over half a soccer field. A driver filming a six second video while driving 60 mph is not paying attention to the road for over 5.5 basketball court lengths, nearly two soccer fields or 1.5 football fields. A driver filming a 15 second video while driving 60 mph is not paying attention to the road for over 14 basketball court lengths, nearly 4.5 soccer fields or nearly 4 football fields," the AAA Mid-Atlantic said.
The company also cited a 2011 study of the National Occupant Protection Use Survey that revealed around 660,000 drivers tinker with their smartphones or tablets while driving and that about 1 in 385 deaths in road mishaps is due to a driver using a cellphone.
To protect citizens, states like Maryland and the District of Columbia require drivers to have a hands-free device to operate their phones while behind the wheels.
"We're gonna discourage that. As Maryland State Police, we discourage any operation like that because it's dangerous. It could hurt those people, as well as anyone that could be on the roadway," said Maryland police officer Marc Black, referring to selfies who take photos and post them on social media sites while driving.