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Friends Don’t Let Friends Post While Driving

By Ashley Rosson

Friends Don’t Let Friends Post While Driving

This past January, Virginia joined the rest of the Washington region in banning handheld personal communications devices while behind the wheel. A first violation of the hands-free law is punishable by a $125 fine. If you are caught holding a cellphone a second time while operating a motor vehicle, you will get a $250 fine. Is all that really worth posting a status update at that specific time? Well apparently a lot of Virginians think so!

A recent poll of over 3,100 drivers, shockingly found out that over 1 in 3 (38%) people in Virginia admit to using social media while behind the wheel, which compared to the national average of 26%. This is a form of distracted driving. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 1,000 people are injured each day in the United States as the result of distracted driving. Drivers may be distracted in three different ways, according to the CDC:

  • Visual distractions, which cause you to divert your eyes from the road and look elsewhere while driving;
  • Manual distractions, which cause you to remove one or both hands from the steering wheel;
  • Cognitive distractions, which take your mind off the task of driving and increase the amount of time required to respond to changes in traffic condition surrounding your vehicle.

Taking selfies with your cell phone and posting them to social media involves all three forms of distraction. A 2015 study by Liberty Mutual Insurance and Students Against Destructive Decisions found that two popular photo and video sharing sites —Snapchat and Instagram — headed the list of apps that most distract teen drivers.  An Instagram search revealed an alarming number of posts related to the following hashtags:

  • #drivingselfies: over 6,500 posts
  • #drivingtowork: over 20,000 posts
  • #drivinghome: over 96,000 posts

The single, one-word hashtag #driving reveals a shocking 4.4 million posts from people who endangered themselves, their passengers, and others on the road by taking selfies while driving. When it comes to distracted driving, you are either part of the solution or you are part of the problem. According to the website, taking your attention away from the road for even five seconds can equal the entire length of a football field when traveling in a car going 55 miles per hour. Help prevent injuries and save lives caused by distracted driving by doing the following:

  • Share information concerning the dangers of Smartphone use, texting, and taking selfies behind the wheel with your family and friends;
  • Educate yourself on other types of distracted driving behaviors, such as checking email, setting GPS systems, switching radio stations, and eating or drinking while driving;
  • Take the pledge at to drive safely yourself and to speak out when you are a passenger in a vehicle in which a driver is engaging in distracted driving.

Follow these tips and don’t let that last post be…your last!

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