20 May Driving ‘Selfies’ – Should Offenders Get Penalty Points?
According to a survey by insurance website, confused.com, a new craze for taking ‘selfies’ while driving is putting motorists at serious risk. The craze involves a driver taking a photograph of themselves and often posting it instantly to social media sites such as Facebook, with a status update.
The survey shows that around 11% of drivers admit to participating in the dangerous pastime, with drivers between the ages of 18 and 24 the worst culprits. Reflecting the desire of many social media sites to be more available on mobile, many drivers also admitted connecting to social media sites on their mobile devices while driving.
Driving selfie tragedy
Nobody should be in any doubt about the seriousness of the craze. In April, US police in North Carolina confirmed that a woman died in a head-on collision, just seconds after posting a driving selfie to Facebook. In a grim irony, the accompanying status update said ‘happy’.
Motoring organisations call for crackdown
Motoring organisation, the RAC, has called for a police clampdown on the craze to make it as socially unacceptable as drink driving. The habit currently comes under the law concerning mobile phone use while driving, which is currently covered by a fine, which rose from £60 to £100 last year.
Enforcement not working?
The RAC said that the practice of taking a selfie while driving presented a ‘massive physical distraction’ and prevented the driver from being in proper control of the vehicle. The organisation went on to suggest that enforcement was not working and a united campaign highlighting the dangers of the practice needed to be put in place.
Authorities will note, however, that drink driving only fell steeply after penalties were increased and a move to penalty points instead of, or in addition to, a fine may be the way forward.