Latest distracted driving trend: Taking ‘selfies’ behind the wheel

Perhaps one of the most annoying trends among millennials is the obsessive need to document every mundane aspect of one’s life, to share it online and to coin new buzz words to describe the process of documentation. The cellphone camera and social media sites seem largely to blame for creating the “selfie;” a word now recognized by the Oxford English Dictionary that describes self portraits taken with a smartphone.

But aside from being annoying, this narcissistic documentation can also be dangerous. As just one example, there seems to be a significant increase in the number of drivers who decide it’s a good idea to snap selfies while driving. By comparison, already established car accident dangers such as texting while driving begin to seem tame.

The auto advocacy group AAA is concerned about the increase in selfies taken while driving. An analyst for AAA notes that there is not yet any accident data related to the behavior, but no such data is needed in order to prove that driving selfies are dangerous and a bad idea.

In a recent NBC News article, the AAA analyst added that “taking a selfie while driving means your hands and your attention are otherwise occupied. Taking your eyes off the road for two seconds doubles your risk of crashing.” Of course, most people would need more than two seconds to snap a photo and then examine it before returning their attention to the task of driving.

If there is any upside to this disturbing trend, it is that these dangerous drivers are documenting their own negligence. If and when they cause an accident, it shouldn’t be hard to prove that they were driving recklessly. This makes it easier for victims to pursue both criminal charges and a personal injury lawsuit.

Source: NBC News, “Friends don’t let idiots snap selfies while driving,” Helen A.S. Popkin, Nov. 19, 2013