If you think talking or texting on a mobile phone while driving is dangerous, a new trend of taking selfies has emerged to further endanger riders’ lives.
A US study has found more than 15% of drivers say they take selfies while driving. And 5% “go live” while driving, possibly imitating James Corden’s enormously popular Carpool Karaoke.
The Simply Insurance study, based on United States Department of Transportation data and a survey of American 1430 drivers, found 88% use their phones while driving, which includes handsfree.
It may not be as big in Australia where it is reported that only 1.5% of Aussie drivers illegally use their phones.
However, those statistics could be much less than the reality.
In NSW, about 40,000 drivers are fined each year for illegal use of a mobile phone.
Yet in a one-month trial of just two fixed special detection cameras on the M4 motorway and Anzac Parade and one mobile device, more than 11,000 offences were recorded. (They were not fined during the trial and there was no breakdown on talking, texting or taking selfies.)
In the same month only 1999 NSW drivers received mobile phones fines.
NSW last year increased the penalty for illegally using a mobile phone while driving in from four to five demerit points following reports of drivers being fined for not only talking on their phones, but updating their social media profiles and taking selfies.
However, Steve says the MCCNSW believes that licence suspension for illegal mobile phone use should be mandatory.
The National Transport Commission amended the Australian Road Rules to make it illegal to touch a mobile phone at any time while driving or stopped in traffic, unless it is “secured in a mounting affixed to the vehicle” or “the phone does not require the driver, at any time while using it, to press anything on the body of the phone or to otherwise manipulate any part of the body of the phone”.
The toughest measures in the USA are in California. The state has a $US150 fine (about $A205) for the first offence and more than $US250 (about $A345) for a second violation and one point.
Canada has a distracted driving offence which attracts a $1000 fine and three demerit points. A second conviction could mean a fine of up to $2000 and a seven-day licence suspension. A third offence could mean a fine of up to $3000 and a 30-day suspension.
Fines in Europe vary from less than €50 (about $80) and one point in eastern Europe to €420 (about $A675) in the Netherlands and up to six points in the UK.