When people hear the term “distracted driving,” an image of a person scrolling through social media or texting while behind the wheel may come to mind. But, with the rise of image and video sharing technologies like Instagram and TikTok, more people have been considering the safety implications of taking “selfies” or filming a video while driving. It is important for California drivers and passengers alike to understand how this behavior could increase their risk of car accidents.
What is distracted driving?
Distracted driving is when a person is doing something other than driving that negatively impacts their ability to drive safely. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are three kinds of distracted driving: eyes leaving the road (visual), hands leaving the wheel (manual), and mind focusing on something other than driving (cognitive). Taking a video or photo with one’s mobile phone almost certainly leads to all three types of distractions, making it a very dangerous activity to do behind the wheel.
Is taking a selfie while driving illegal?
Operating a cellphone with one’s hands is illegal in California. This includes the use of a phone to take or send a photo or video. Hands-free technology may enable someone to use certain features of a phone while driving, such as making a hands-free phone call. The only situation where taking a selfie might not be illegal is if the phone was mounted and voice controls were used to take the media.
Car accidents caused by distracted driving are another legal matter altogether. Not only could the action make someone criminally liable, but there could also insurance consequences and the potential of civil lawsuits. Individuals who were victims to these types of unfortunate incidents could significantly benefit from gaining an understanding of their legal options by reaching out to an experienced California personal injury lawyer.