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HASHTAG### Selfies While Driving?

JUNE 5, 2017

By now we’ve all seen the statistics on texting while driving.  It’s a disturbing trend that has the potential to be deadly.  Unfortunately, it is not the only way that the digital age is impacting our driving habits.  The latest dangerous trend among teens is posting selfies while driving.  It seems impossible to believe but some folks just don’t see the harm in this activity and they may never see it until it’s too late.

Just check Facebook, Instagram or any other social media site and you’ll find an astonishing number of people using “#drivingselfie”, “#drivingtowork” and similar tags when they post pictures of themselves behind the wheel.  They laugh it off, thinking it’s just another way of sharing a glimpse into their world.  The problem is that it’s not only their world that’s affected.

You would think that the number of accidents, injuries and deaths caused by distracted driving would serve as a warning against this kind of behavior, yet those facts somehow seem to pale in comparison to our endless need for acceptance and validation from friends and social media contacts.  We’re willing to put our lives on the line in order to be seen by a worldwide audience.

Unfortunately, the majority of that audience will do little to detract from this dangerous trend, so we can only hope that parents are stepping up to fill in where the rest of society leaves off.  It is their job, after all, to provide a good example for their teens and to teach them about the responsible use of technology and social media.  They need to get that message across before it’s too late.

The sad thing is that the trend of taking “driving selfies” is not limited solely to teens and young adults.  Taking selfies is a habit that people of all ages have become consumed by and even those who should be old enough to know better let it cloud their judgment.  The line between digital and real gets blurred regularly and that need to hear how wonderful we are overwhelms our common sense.

But, as is the case with texting while driving, the important thing we need to remember is that a car is more than just a mode of transportation, it is essentially a 4,000 pound lethal weapon, every bit as deadly as a loaded gun or a sharpened knife.  And when we misuse that vehicle, we have the ability to harm not only ourselves but everyone around us, which is what makes this behavior so very dangerous.

It’s bad enough to be so reliant on social media for sustaining your fragile sense of self-worth, but when you take that obsessive need to such lengths that you actually engage in dangerous behavior that’s when you know you’ve gone too far.  Parents, teachers, relatives and friends all need to step in and make sure that teens aren’t putting themselves or anyone else in danger by taking the selfie fad on the road.

Color photograph of young male sitting behind the wheel of a car and holding his cell phone like he's going to take a selfie.

Image: Boys & Girls Club of America

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