AAA urges drivers to stop taking ‘selfies’

Posted at 10:15 PM, Nov 19, 2013
and last updated 2013-11-20 00:15:08-05

SALT LAKE CITY -- “Selfie” may be Oxford Dictionary’s 2013 word of the year, but AAA wants selfies to stop -- at least when you’re behind the wheel.

AAA officials say it’s distracting drivers, and unfortunately, millions of people are posting them on social media.

Many people are guilty of taking the occasional selfie and that’s fine, but AAA says people taking self portraits while driving is potentially fatal, especially with young and inexperienced drivers.

Selfies are not a new thing. Everyone FOX13 spoke with Tuesday knew what it was.

“Taking a picture of yourself,” “people taking pictures of themselves in mirrors and what not,” and “it’s a picture you take of yourself on your cell phone,” were some of their responses.

Selfies can be found on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter -- showing off a good hair day, fun accessories, a new outfit, the list goes on.

Those aren’t the issues.

The problem, AAA says, is there are the millions of selfies of people behind the wheel and driving. Some drivers admitted to doing it, saying they do it, “usually when I’m stopped at a light” or “at a stoplight, but not while moving.”

AAA says this is the latest distracted driving behavior that can be deadly to drivers and those around them.

“Don’t let that driving selfie or video be the last photo you ever take,” officials said.

AAA’s research shows taking a photo for two seconds means your eyes are off the road for nearly half a football field.

With six-second videos popular on Vine and 15-second videos, the latest feature on Instagram, drivers are distracted for the distance of up to nearly four football fields.

“You can certainly kill yourself as well as kill other people as well,” said Rolayne Fairclough with AAA Utah. “Depends on the speed you’re traveling but five seconds that is a great deal of distance especially if you’re in inclement weather or in traffic things can happen and you really need to be focused on the road.”

Currently, Utah has a law against texting while driving. Some other states have similar laws and also require hands-free devices while behind the wheel.