Where ever they are, young people always want to capture the moment. With the convenience of having a phone with a built in camera, this can be done anywhere and at any time. In 2013 the word ‘selfie’ was awarded The Word of the Year and in August 2013 it was added to the Oxford Dictionary. Its definition is: ‘a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website.’ The word selfie has a fun and positive buzz about it but in actual fact, when driving, this should not be the case. In this blog Service4Service explain the importance of road safety…
Selfies are well known all around the world but British drivers are the most likely to take pictures at the wheel of their car. 33% of British youngsters between 18 and 24 admitted they had taken a selfie at the wheel, compared to 28% in Germany, 28% in France, 27% in Romania, 26% in Italy, 18% in Spain and 17% in Belgium.
In Europe 7000 smart phone users aged 18 to 24 were surveyed about the use of their smart phone behind the wheel. This revealed that one in four of these British youngsters have updated or even checked their Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc. while driving.
All young drivers know that this activity is very dangerous but still continue to do it. Young male drivers have been found the more likely group to ignore the warnings and risks of this. When taking a selfie at the wheel of your car you can be distracted for around 14 seconds says Ford. If you check your social networking sites it will take your concentration for up to 20 seconds and if you are driving at 60mph this would mean you travel the distance of five football pitches without full concentration, if any, on the road.
Ford’s Jim Graham said: “Taking a selfie has, for many young people, quickly become an integral part of everyday life, but it’s the last thing you should be doing behind the wheel of a car, It is deeply worrying that so many young drivers admit to taking a photo while driving and we will be doing all we can to highlight the potential dangers through driver education.”
Ford has set up a driver’s training programme which is free, to help people’s awareness of the risks of using your smartphone when driving. Giordano Biserni said: “The distraction of trying to take a ‘selfie’ immediately places the driver, passengers, pedestrians and other road-users around at risk – and can have potentially fatal consequences, Driving safely requires a focus on the road ahead and being in control of the vehicle at all times, something we are happy to help reinforce through the Ford Driving Skills for Life programme.”
The Ford training programme includes carrying out slow manoeuvres while taking a ‘selfie’ in a closed facility and with a professional in the passenger seat. This will teach the driver the importance of noticing a hazard early and good space and speed management. Jim Graham said: “The students can be a little blasé at first but afterwards, when they see the cones that have been flattened as they tried to take a ‘selfie’, it brings home the message very effectively, The potential consequences of taking a ‘selfie’ behind the wheel are very sobering, and it is crucial to get that message home to young drivers as effectively as possible.”
In previous years, Ford have surveyed young drivers about speeding, eating and drinking at the wheel and this revealed that almost ALL young people had done all three of these.
These surveys show just how many people break the law by using their phones at the wheel. It will be a long and difficult process to get people to stop doing this because everything these days is so convenient.