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Compensation Solicitors Insight: Social Media and Blind Driving
The Link Between Snapping, Posting, Tweeting and NSW Car Accidents
Recent studies show the greatest involvement in crashes in NSW in 2015 involved hand-held mobile phones. This is most prevalent amongst males and females between the ages of 17 – 39.
Besides the conventional use of a mobile phones for calls or text messages, the more popular use nowadays is for social media.
Mobile phone use while driving can be one of four major distractions according to our compensation solicitors:
- Physical distraction, such as composing a text message or commenting on an Instagram photo
- Visual distraction, such as watching a Snapchat video or selecting a filter to send an image
- Auditory distraction, such as listening to a voice message
- Cognitive distraction such as focusing solely on what the driver is viewing on their phone
The ever-growing popularity of the immediacy of social media requires users to act then and there. These consequences lead to instant distractions while users are behind the wheel. For this reason, social media is a core contributor to car accidents in NSW.
‘Blind Driving’ alludes to the fact that drivers become completely sightless when focusing on their mobile phones. Drivers are not aware of their surroundings and what is happening (or not) in their vision.
The use of mobile phones and “blindness” whilst driving can result in:
- Impairment of ability to stay in the same lane or change lanes
- Inability to maintain appropriate speed limit
- Missing traffic signals
- Delayed reaction times
- Reduced alertness of surrounding factors
Car Accidents and #Hashtagging
Drivers are easily distracted by taking images or sharing status updates. By concentrating on liking, sharing or hashtagging, serious dangers may arise. There is an ever increasing rate of mobile phone use as a contributor to car accidents.
Research also suggests that new drivers are more susceptible to these distractions.
Top 3 Reasons the top 3 Apps are Distracting while on the go:
|1||Once a snap is open, it is only available to be viewed briefly. To make use of these, users are more inclined to pay closer attention to the limited time image or video, rather than focusing on the road.||New feature of Instagram stories calls for live sharing. Just like Snapchat, users can create a “story” which requires live coverage at that moment in time.||New feature of Facebook live to stream activity as it happens. Like Periscope, this new and improved Facebook perk calls for users to broadcast what they are doing and where they are going as it is happening.|
|2||Selfie filters and camera while singing and driving is often popular use of the App. Celebrities like Kylie Jenner who have endorsed the trend of recording while driving have set a not-so-good movement for drivers, particularly teen drivers.||Trending #selfies while snapping images behind the wheel. The ever-growing popularity of people taking images of themselves behind the wheel is continuing to be widespread.||Checking recent status updates and sharing statuses to keep on top of what content followers and friends are sharing.|
|3||Geo-filters as overlays for users to share where they are at any point in time.||Reading comments while driving to stay up to date with friends, celebrities or bloggers.||Innovative features such as Birthday Cam or 360 photos are now offered by the world’s most famous social media platform|
Other Distractions While Driving that Could Cause Traffic Accidents:
Given the rise of social media and instantaneous features, the distraction has easily been due to force of habit.
But the distractions do not solely stop at social media. Other distractions while driving could range between any of the following:
- ✘ Texting
- ✘ Dialling a number to make a phone call
- ✘ Eating and/or drinking
- ✘ Grooming
- ✘ Talking to passengers
- ✘ Adjusting vehicle controls, including radio stations and CD players
- ✘ Unrestrained pets
- ✘ Viewing maps with unfamiliar routes
Ways to Avoid Distractions:
- ✓ Only use a mobile when a vehicle is parked, not just stationary and definitely not in motion
- ✓ For hands-free calls or navigation, mobile phone must be secured to a fixed mounting
- ✓ To eat, drink or groom yourself, take a break rather than do so while driving
- ✓ If passengers are distracting, inform them of difficulty of concentrating and lower voices or cease what they are doing
- ✓ Adjust vehicle controls before operating a vehicle- such as radio settings or navigation system
- ✓ Turn off social media notifications to avoid notices and distraction while driving
The comments in the article are general in nature and should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional advice. Anyone intending to apply the information contained in this newsletter should seek their own professional advice to independently verify their interpretation and the information’s applicability to their particular circumstances. This article is issued as a helpful guide to clients and for their private information. Therefore, it should be regarded as confidential and not be made available to any person without our prior approval.
Liability limited by a scheme, approved under the Professional Standards Legislation.