herald

Friday 21 September 2018

'Selfies' at wheel 'will kill drivers'

It's the latest driving craze – and it's almost certain to cost lives.

Drivers taking 'selfies' – photographs of themselves with their mobile phone – have been posting them on the popular picture sharing site, Instagram.

Road safety experts have now warned motorists to think twice before engaging in the dangerous practice while behind the wheel.

There are already more than three million posts on Instagram tagged with "#driving", nearly 50,000 with "#drivinghome", over 9,000 tagged "#drivingtowork" and more than 3,500 tagged "#drivingselfie".

Road Safety Officer Noel Gibbons said that the latest craze of driver-selfies was a deeply worrying development and appealed to motorists not to be tempted by the practice.

"It is a life-endangering practice and it's especially risky for young, inexperienced drivers, who are already extremely vulnerable to crashes, to be distracted when they are behind the wheel.

"Answering a call or reading a text, or attempting to take a picture of yourself while driving, is never worth the loss of a life," Mr Gibbons, who is a Road Safety Officer with Mayo County Council, said.

Car manufacturer Toyota recently launched an advert in the US in a bid to combat the dangerous pastime. Containing the tagline 'Don't Shoot and Drive', it is aimed specifically at people taking photos of themselves while driving.

The ad shows a car accident through several of the popular Instagram filters.

The campaign was sparked by some outrageous photographs taken by mostly young motorists while driving.

One man even posted a picture of himself wearing a horse's head.

CRASH

Research by the Road Safety Authority shows that driver distraction is thought to play a role in 20-30pc of all road collisions.

Almost 40pc of Irish drivers report using their mobile phone at least sometimes while driving and it is estimated that, at any given moment during the day, 2-6pc of drivers are using a mobile phone.

You are four times more likely to have a crash when you're using a mobile phone and gardai and road safety officials are now reminding motorists that it is against the law, with a fine of up to €2,000 awaiting anyone caught in the act.

hnews@herald.ie

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