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Social media and driving: A deadly combination

Despite reports and media campaigns warning drivers to put their cellphones down while behind the wheel, a significant number of motorists continue to post social media updates, take selfies and engage in other types of cellphone business. According to Distraction.gov, at least 660,000 drivers are manipulating their electronic devices at any given time of the day. In fact, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram and other social media platforms are filled with selfies of people behind the wheel, sailing boats and even flying airplanes.

Snapchat has a speed filter that records how fast a person is going when a selfie is taken. In one case, a woman was convicted of a felony when this snapchat filter caused her to hit another car while traveling at speeds in excess of 100 mph. Although the driver of the other vehicle was not killed, he sustained severe brain injuries as a result of the accident.

It is no surprise that taking a selfie while driving can be devastating. Drivers are forced to take their eyes off of the road and remove their hands from the steering wheel in order to position themselves and take the selfie. Furthermore, drivers have to upload the selfie and then compose a post. Attempting to complete all of these tasks while traveling at high speeds puts everyone’s lives in danger. This extreme form of cognitive, manual and visual distraction is deadly.

In Texas, texting on a hand-held device is considered illegal, and law enforcement officers can pull over and cite anyone who they find engaged in this act. Drivers are encouraged to put their phones away while they are behind the wheel. 

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