For teens and young adults, smartphones and iPhones are rarely out of sight. No longer is a phone simply a communication tool. Now it’s an outlet for entertainment, creativity, and connection with the outside world. With mobile apps like Instagram and Twitter at the forefront of social media, electronic devices have become a personal paparazzi. Phones are used for snapping, editing, and capturing every moment, thought, and action of every day life. This has led to a new way of personal branding: the #selfie. More importantly, a driving #selfie is a form of distracted driving, regardless of who is taking the picture.
A selfie is a self portrait taken with an electronic device that’s usually uploaded to Instagram and hashtagged with ‘#selfie’. It’s fair to call this a phenomenon, as currently there are over 8,130,426 #selfie posts on Instagram and British Columbians happen to be leading the pack. According to data gathered by TIME Magazine, Victoria is the selfie capital of Canada, with 34 self-takers per 100,000 people.
While self-portraits may seem more indulgent than harmful, what worries us is that there are over 10,000 posts with the hashtag #drivingselfie.
Taking A Driving #Selfie While Driving is Illegal In BC
Currently, laws don’t contain the word “selfie,” but taking one while driving is illegal everywhere in Canada except Nunavut – as all other provinces ban the use of using mobile devices while driving, and that includes taking a “selfie’.
According to police data, distracted driving is the third leading cause of fatal car crashes in B.C. with an average of 91 deaths per year due to distractions like using a personal electronic device behind the wheel. A 2012 Ipsos Reid survey conducted on behalf of ICBC showed that B.C. drivers consider texting while driving to be just as risky as drinking and driving.
The ping announcing a new message can be impossible to resist for young adults and teenagers, which also happens to be the largest number of selfie offenders. As Vancouver personal injury lawyers, we’ve seen many motor vehicle accidents that have led to serious car accident injuries or death due to cell phone usage when driving.
Using a handheld device to talk, tweet, text or photograph can have serious consequences. If you’re caught using this device in any capacity while behind the wheel, you’ll be slapped with a $167 fee and three ICBC penalty points. When you collect more than three penalty points on your driving record, you’ll pay a Driver Penalty Point (DPP) premium, which ranges from $175 for four points to $24,000 for 50 or more points.
Driving requires your undivided attention. Even a quick snapshot can cause serious harm to yourself and others. If you feel the overwhelming need to post a #selfie, do it the safe and mature way: pull over. Once posted, we suggest turning your mobile phone off or putting it in the trunk so you won’t be tempted to see how many likes you received while you’re on the road.