Road safety officials criticise ‘selfie’ craze among drivers

It’s the latest driving craze — and it’s almost certain to cost lives.

Drivers have been taking ‘selfies’ — photographs of themselves with their mobile phones — and posting them on picture sharing site Instagram.

There are already over 3m posts on Instagram tagged with “#driving”, nearly 50,000 with “#drivinghome”, over 9,000 tagged “#drivingtowork”, and more than 3,500 tagged “#drivingselfie”.

Car manufacturer Toyota recently launched an advertisement in the US in a bid to combat the dangerous pastime. Containing the tagline “Don’t Shoot and Drive”, it is aimed specifically at people taking photos of themselves while driving. The ad shows a car accident through several of the popular Instagram filters.

The campaign was sparked by some outrageous photographs taken by mostly young motorists while driving. One man even posted a picture of himself wearing a horse’s head.

Research by the Road Safety Authority shows driver distraction is thought to play a role in 20%-30% of all road collisions. Distraction is caused by a competing activity, event or object from inside or outside the vehicle.

Almost 40% of Irish drivers report using their mobile phone at least sometimes while driving and it is estimated that, at any given moment during the day, between 2% and 6% of drivers are using a mobile phone.

Drivers are four times more likely to have a crash when using a mobile phone and gardaí and road safety officials are now reminding motorists that it is against the law, with a fine of up to €2,000 awaiting anyone caught in the act.

Road safety officer Noel Gibbons said the latest craze was a deeply worrying development.

“It is a life endangering practice and it’s especially risky for young, inexperienced drivers, who are already extremely vulnerable to crashes, to be distracted when they are behind the wheel.

“Answering a call or reading a text, or attempting to take a picture of yourself while driving, is never worth the loss of a life,” said Mr Gibbons.


Lifestyle

The founders of Rixo are on a mission to make the brand more affordable and more wearable, writes Vickie Maye.The dynamic duo behind Rixo aiming to make the brand more affordable and wearable

Want to get away to the sun this Christmas? Ciara McDonnell has all the last-minute deals.Last-minute sunshine getaways for Christmas

A new initiative honours teachers who have inspired their pupils, says Rowena Walsh.Why inspirational teachers stay with you for life

IT’S that time of year again as artists, canvases in tow, start to crisscross county borders across Munster and beyond.Art events to put Christmas gift-hunting in the frame

More From The Irish Examiner