Selfies have been added to the list of driving distractions. These images of oneself have contributed to a number of accidents.
In a story that made national news, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said selfies likely contributed to a single-engine plane crash near Denver, Colorado on May 31, 2014. Two people, the pilot of the Cessna 150K and a passenger, died in the accident, federal accident investigators said in a probable cause report.
The NTSB report said a GoPro video camera was found near the plane’s wreckage. Files recovered from the device showed several flights where the pilot and his passengers were taking “self-photographs” with their cell phones. Investigators saw that the pilot and passengers were taking these self-photos at dangerous times, including during a flight at night. They were using the camera’s flash during the takeoff roll, initial climb, and flight. The fatal flight was not recorded.
The NTSB report said investigators did not find anything wrong with the airplane itself. Citing the wreckage distribution, investigators believed it “likely that the pilot experienced spatial disorientation and lost control of the airplane.” The evidence was consistent with “aerodynamic stall and subsequent spin into terrain.”
The NTSB concluded in their report: “The pilot’s loss of control and subsequent aerodynamic stall due to spatial disorientation in night instrument meteorological conditions. Contributing to the accident was the pilot’s distraction due to his cell phone use while maneuvering at low-altitude,”
Amritpal Singh, 29, was the pilot of the plane at the time of the accident. The passenger killed in the crash was Jatinder Singh, 31
Selfies are just as dangerous if they are taken in a car. A driver who chooses to take a selfie of while operating a vehicle puts themself and others on the road with them at risk. New York law prohibits all drivers from using portable electronic devices while driving. Each day in the United States, more than 9 people are killed and more than 1,153 people are injured in crashes that are reported to involve a distracted driver, said the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). .
The AAA determined that it takes two seconds to snap a photo. In that time, a car can travel 176 feet at 60 mph, the length of nearly half a football field. If a driver records a six second video while driving, he or she can travel 528 feet at 60 mph. That mans the driver can travel one and a half football field lengths without giving their full attention to the road, reported CBS.
Individuals who are injured in an accident caused by a distracted driver should contact an attorney who can provide guidance during this difficult time.