WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- AAA Mid-Atlantic says social media is showing the latest dangerous distracted driving behavior: taking "selfies" while driving.
According to AAA, drivers are using Twitter and Instagram to send out photos of themselves while driving with the hashtags #drivingselfie, #drivingfast, #drivingtowork, #rainx and #drivingintherain. Some of the photos show the speedometer, which indicates the car is moving while the driver is taking his or her own picture, according to AAA.
The hashtag #rainx "includes videos of people holding their phones to the windshield while driving in the rain in order to see the beading of rain produced by using the product Rainx. In some cases, the driver lowers the phone enough to see the speedometer, which shows that the vehicle is moving at nearly 70 miles per hour while the driver is distracted," according to AAA in a press release on Monday.
AAA is encouraging drivers to put the camera down. "Don't let that driving selfie or video be the last photo you ever take," said John B. Townsend II, AAA Mid-Atlantic's Manager of Public and Government Affairs.
Just in case you needed some numbers to pursuade you to stop taking selfies, according to AAA:
- Approximately 660,000 drivers were using cell phones or electronic devices while driving during daylight hours in 2011. "Of those people killed in distraction-affected crashes, 385 died in crashes in which at least one of the drivers was using a cell phone (12% of fatalities in distraction-affected crashes) at the time of the crash."
- "There are 5,280 feet in one mile. If a vehicle is traveling 60 miles per hour it goes 316,800 feet per hour. One hour has 3,600 seconds, so 316,800/3,600 is 88 feet per second. Twitter allows a maximum of 6 seconds of video while Instagram allows a maximum of 15 seconds.
A driver taking a video with a length of six seconds is not paying full attention to driving for a total of 528 feet while a driver taking a video with a length of 15 seconds is not paying full attention to driving for a total of 1,320 feet. A driver taking a photo for approximately two seconds takes their eyes off of the road for 176 feet. For comparison, a regulation NBA basketball court is 94 feet, a regulation FIFA soccer field is 300 feet and an NFL football field is 360 feet.
A driver taking a photo for approximately two seconds takes their eyes off of the road for nearly two basketball courts, nearly half a football field, or over half a soccer field. A driver filming a six second video while driving 60 mph is not paying attention to the road for over 5.5 basketball court lengths, nearly two soccer fields or 1.5 football fields. A driver filming a 15 second video while driving 60 mph is not paying attention to the road for over 14 basketball court lengths, nearly 4.5 soccer fields or nearly 4 football fields.