There is no denying the fact that social media has brought the world closer and connected people in unprecedented ways by providing unique platforms for communication and global interaction. But, on the other hand, this technological evolution has also caused many negative effects by making people obsessed. The growing culture of distracted driving is one of the major downsides of social media obsession.
How Big Is The Issue?
In a survey conducted by AT&T in 2018, 90% of drivers admitted that they use a smartphone while driving, out of which 50% said they use it to access social media.
Another research revealed that more than 10 people die and over 1,000 get injured every day due to distracted driving.
A research study, jointly conducted by the Institute of Advanced Motorist and Transport Research Laboratory, showed that using social media while driving puts you at three times higher risk of an accident than driving while intoxicated. According to the research, using a smartphone while driving can slow down a driver’s reaction time by 38% whereas drinking reduces their response time by 12%.
While everyone who owns a smartphone is likely to engage in distracted driving at some time, teens are particularly prone to it. It is estimated that about 50% of teen crashes are caused because the drivers were using social media apps (or texting, in some cases).
Recently, a 17-year-old girl from Georgia pleaded guilty to first-degree vehicular homicide because she caused an accident while using social media and driving at the same time. Cristina Pavon-Baker was using Snapchat while driving at 106mph due to which she crashed on a curve. The accident took the life of Cristina’s best friend who was with her in the car.
This is just one example of accidents caused by a teenage driver’s diverted attention. The rate of such accidents is much higher than we think. The prevalence of this behavior among teens has to do with the environment they have been brought up. They have grown up in a world where it is socially acceptable to take a picture of something unique you come across or the scenic view you witness while driving and post it on social media or to tweet about traffic updates. So, the younger generation naturally considers it normal.
But, just because something has become prevalent in society doesn’t mean it is right.
Risks of Using Social Media While Driving
Using social media while driving increases the risk of:
- Ignoring stop signs and traffic lights
- Swerving into other lanes
- Jumping curbs
- Failing to stop in time
While these may appear small issues, they can put your and others lives at risk.
What Measures Have Been Taken To Deal With The Problem?
To deal with the prevalent issue, Washington DC and 44 states have implemented different types of laws against distracted driving.