The Rise of the Driving Selfie

November 22nd, 2013 by Andrea Bennett

More and more drivers are taking pictures of themselves from behind the wheel of moving cars.

Brought to you by Liberty Mutual's
The Responsibility Project

If you thought there wasn’t an act more ill-advised than driving while distracted, here’s one for you: how about driving while documenting your distracted behavior?

As CNN reports, an alarming new trend has teen drivers snapping self-portraits behind the wheels of their cars – while in motion. The pictures are accompanied by hashtags such as #drivingselfie, #drivinghome or #drivingtowork. In fact, CNN’s Heather Kelly reports, there are more than 9,700 Instagram entries for #drivingtowork, and more than 3,727 posts under the #drivingselfie hashtag. “Some users add the optimistic tag, #Ihopeidontcrash,” Kelly adds. Meanwhile, BuzzFeed documents the driving selfie as “the dumbest Instagram trend yet,” showing 16 pictures of people documenting themselves driving.

Highway safety advocates’ reaction to the trend is hardly surprising. “Taking a photo of yourself while you’re driving a 2,000-pound vehicle down the road at 50 or 60 miles per hour? That is putting your life in danger and putting the lives of those around you in danger,” said Jackie Gillan, president of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety.

According to the Department of Transportation, more than 3,300 deaths every year are caused by distracted driving; even the couple of seconds it can take to check a text can put drivers – and everyone around them on the road – in danger.  According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, car crashes are the leading cause of death for teenagers, with distracted driving playing a role in 12 percent of fatal accidents.

Luckily, the auto industry is getting behind campaigns against this silly new trend. Toyota has released a “Don’t Shoot and Drive” ad showing a photo of a totaled car edited with Instagram filters. Alarmingly, even motorcyclists, sailors and pilots are jumping on board the selfie train, says New York magazine’s Maggie Lange.

What will it take to make this silly new trend un-hip? Weigh in.