In the UK, there are over 38 million active social media users who spend approximately around 2 hours 13 minutes every day checking their social media feeds including Facebook and Instagram. Sharing snapshots of our life has become a major part of our daily life.
The dangers of using social media whilst driving
According to a study by the University of Derby, 13% of the subjects were identified as been addicted to their smartphones – equal to one in eight people. Dr. Hussain (Psychology lecturer at the University of Derby) said that: “there is a significant positive relationship between narcissism and addiction to the phones, suggesting the more narcissistic a person, the more likely they are to be addicted to their smartphone.”
Image sourced from pixabay.com
During 2014, Snapchat created a cause for concern with the release of the ‘miles per hour’ feature which allowed the user to find out how fast they were travelling. This soon generated a flurry of media coverage surrounding images being posted of motorists travelling over 100mph. Even though Snapchat reminds motorists to not “snap and drive”, it could, in fact, be very dangerous. Over 28,000 images on Instagram use the hashtag #DriverSelfies, which may suggest that users are putting people’s lives at risk.
In the UK using a mobile phone has been illegal since 2003 and a minimum of a £100 fine can be expected. Figures released for 2013 showed that 22% of all fatal road accidents in the UK involved a mobile device. Previously in 2012 more than 6,000 16-24-year-olds were killed or seriously injured in driving related accidents.
Image sourced socialmediaweek
More than 500,000 motorists are still using mobile phones at the wheel and Professor Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation, called these figures “a worry”.
These statistics highlight the need for media campaigns and pressure on the government to do more.
For many social media users, the lure of taking a selfie is overwhelming and this is backed up by a study which found that a third of young drivers admitted to taking a selfie behind the wheel. The danger is made even more apparent if you search Instagram for #DrivingSelfies.
Confused.com released a study which found that one in ten young drivers had admitted that they had been caught by the police for using their phone whilst driving. The study found that 8% of motorists were accessing Twitter, 7% were taking a selfie whilst 5% were using Instagram.
This behaviour may correlate with the motorist’s mood. The University of Baylor investigated mobile phone addiction and mood. The study found that a person who is moody and temperamental may be more likely to be addiction their smartphone than a more stable user. The findings also highlighted that we reach for our smartphone in order to “repair” our mood.
According to data researched in 2014, the vast majority of offenders have had their phone in their hand rather than their ear, which suggests that social media use is most common. The results also highlighted that males were the worst offenders in comparison to female motorists.
2007 saw the biggest decline in driving offences over 12 years with the introduction of the penalty points system. By raising the penalty points to six, rather than a fine, suggests that strong punishments can lead to significant positive results. Police Forces across the UK post weekly social media messages highlighting the dangers with using your smartphone in your vehicle. West Yorkshire Police has recently undertaken a campaign which has reached over five million people.
A social media status or message is not worth the potentially fatal consequences that can occur whilst you are driving.
See also: 10 Videos in the World That Have More Than 1 Billion Views on YouTube