Distracted driving is a very dangerous behavior and causes many car accidents every year in Missouri. Cellphone use is a big contributor to distracted driving accidents across the country, but the new popular social media act of taking “selfies” is posing dangers much closer to home.

More drivers are taking pictures of themselves, called “selfies,” while driving and posting the pictures to social media sites like Instagram. Reports show that there are more than three million pictures of drivers taking pictures of themselves posted to Instagram.

Taking pictures of yourself while driving is very dangerous. Just like texting or emailing on your phone, taking pictures on your phone distracts you from concentrating on the road. Not looking at the road for five seconds can increase the risk of being in a serious car accident.

The finding that more people are taking pictures of themselves while driving is very disturbing. Any type of cellphone or electronic device use while driving poses several risks, with the most dangerous risk being that you are in a car crash.

Distracted driving continues to be a serious safety issue in Missouri and throughout the United States. Safety groups may need to raise more awareness to the role social media plays in distracted driving incidents, especially among younger drivers who use many different types of social media sites on a daily basis.

Drivers should know the risks of using a cellphone while driving and take steps to reduce those risks. Drivers should not be texting or emailing on their phones while driving. This includes taking pictures of themselves or anything else as this behavior distracts them from focusing on driving. If drivers cannot leave their phones alone, it may be best to keep them in their purse, glove compartment or back seat to prevent any temptation of using their cellphone while driving.

Source: KSHB, “Driving ‘selfies’ take distracted driving to whole new level,” Brendaliss, Gonzalez, Nov. 6, 2013