November 8, 2013
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DMV Warns Young Drivers About Perils
of Taking "Selfies" While Operating a Vehicle
Taking Photos of Self or Passengers While Driving Is Dangerous,
But a Growing Trend Among Young Drivers
WETHERSFIELD -- The Department of Motor Vehicles today warned young drivers, their passengers and their parents to be vigilant in avoiding distractions when driving, especially with regards to drivers taking photos of themselves and passengers while driving.
This new trend in the way teens use cell phones and tablets mixes the essence of self-focus during adolescence with their involvement in all things related to social networking. However, there are increasing reports teens are taking these so-called “selfies” while driving.
“This is an extremely dangerous behavior and should never happen,” said DMV Commissioner Melody A. Currey. “For the few seconds it takes to snap a photo, it could be the last photo they take of themselves or friends if a crash happens.”
CNN recently reported young drivers aren't shy about sharing their photos. Instagram shows more than 3,727 posts under the #drivingselfie hashtag, more than 1,869 for the plural #drivingselfies, and more than 9,700 for #drivingtowork. Some users add the optimistic tag, #Ihopeidontcrash, according to the news station.
State law prohibits 16 and 17-year-old drivers from using any electronic device while operating a motor vehicle. Those convicted face license suspensions and fines. Those over 18 are also prohibited from using a cell phone while driving.
"Distracted driving is dangerous in any form and taking pictures of yourself behind the wheel while driving invites the kinds of crashes we are trying to prevent with our laws, especially those aimed at teens," said Dr. C. Steven Wolf, Chairman of Emergency Medicine at Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center in Hartford.
Although it might seem like fun, it is extremely dangerous behavior and should be avoided at all times. There’s a time and place for taking pictures and driving isn’t one of them, said Garry Lapidus, Injury Prevention director, and Dr. Brendan Campbell, pediatric surgeon, both at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center in Hartford.
Dr. David Shapiro, trauma surgeon at Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center, was pointed.
“People of all ages like to take 'selfies.' We post them on Facebook, Instagram, Hipstagram, Twitter, etc. This can be fun, but there are times when 'selfies' are inappropriate--especially in the car,” he said, offering the following advice to teens:
1. Behind the wheel. Hang up your phone and drive. Taking "selfies" is distracting not only to the driver taking his or her own photo, but to those around them--both in their vehicle and outside of it.
2. In the passenger seat--don't take pictures of the driver or anyone else. Be a participant--a contributor to vehicle safety, not a detractor.
Pina Violano, Injury Prevention coordinator at Yale-New Haven Children’s Hospital, was just as emphatic.
“Taking pictures while driving a 3,000 pound "weapon" can endanger not only the lives of teen drivers but passengers, pedestrians and other innocent people,” she said.