Cranwell & Moore P.L.C., Attorneys at Law

Selfies behind the wheel are a bad idea

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The word "selfie" has reached a prominent status in pop culture lexicon. It has been dubbed "Word of the Year 2013" and use of the word has increased 17,000 percent (not kidding) over the last year according to Oxford Dictionaries. However, the specter of drivers taking selfies while behind the wheel has grabbed the attention of the American Automobile Association (AAA).

Indeed, there are no hard numbers on how many traffic accidents are related to people taking pictures of themselves while behind the wheel, but the numerous hashtags associated with such behavior has safety analysts concerned. Essentially, references such as: #drivingfast, #drivingintherain, #drivingtowork suggest that more people are throwing caution into the wind simply for a candid photo.

It may seem obvious, but taking a selfie while driving takes a driver's attention away from the road, even if it is only momentarily. According to AAA analyst Sharon Gilmarting, taking your eyes off the road for two seconds doubles a driver's risk of being in an accident. This ostensibly increases for drivers who take videos of themselves while driving.

Of course, taking pictures while driving can be characterized as failing to use the reasonable care that drivers are tasked with as a matter of law when they get behind the wheel of a car. If an accident is linked to a driver who is smiling for the camera while driving, the offending driver could be held liable for the accident. This means that people who are injured in the crash can seek compensation for their injuries.

Source: NBC News.com, "Friends don't let idiots snap selfies while driving," Helen A.S. Popkin, November 19, 2013

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