AAA Northern New England: 'Selfies' while driving are dangerous distractions

Portland, Maine -- There's a dangerous distracted driving behavior that's becoming more prevalent on the roads. People are striking a pose while driving. The activity is trending as thousands of young drivers share photos and videos of themselves in the act of driving.

On social media platforms such as Twitter and Instagram there are millions of driving photos and videos, but looking closely at hashtags such as #drivingselfie, #drivingfast, #drivingtowork and #drivingintherain reveal particularly dangerous distracted driving behaviors, warns AAA. In some photos the speedometer is plainly visible and shows the vehicle is moving.

With many new mobile devices and tablet computers in the hands of people, especially young drivers, AAA urges people not to take selfies while behind the wheel.

"The only thing you should be doing while driving is focusing on the road ahead. Taking pictures or video takes your focus off the road," said AAA Northern New England manager of public affairs and traffic safety Pat Moody. " Distracted driving is a dangerous epidemic on our highways killing over 3000 people annually. Put your camera phone down and wait until you arrive at a safe destination. Don't let a driving selfie or video be the last photo you ever take."

Approximately 660,000 drivers are using cell phones or manipulating electronic devices while driving during daylight hours, according to the latest National Occupant Protection Use Survey (NOPUS) for the year 2011. Taking your eyes off the road for more than two seconds doubles your risk of being involved in a crash. Electronic device use and other distracted driving behaviors are strongly associated with teens looking away from the roadway according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. Females were twice as likely as males to be using an electronic device while driving.

Twitter allows a maximum of six seconds of video while Instagram allows a maximum of 15 seconds. Traveling at a speed of 60 miles per hour, a driver taking a photo for approximately two seconds takes their eyes off of the road for 176 feet which is the length of nearly two basketball courts. A driver taking a six second video is not paying full attention to driving for a total of 528 feet which is equivalent to one and a half football fields. Finally, a driver taking a video that's 15 seconds long is not paying full attention to the road for a total of 1,320 feet which equals the length of nearly four football fields.

Although electronic device use while driving are largely associated with young drivers, AAA Northern New England reminds people of all ages to avoid driving distracted.

As North America's largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 54 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at


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