#DrivingSelfie may be a thing of the past, at least that’s what Sharjah Police hope. Police in the emirate have warned drivers that taking selfies behind the wheel decreases concentration and causes accidents. This caution comes as part of a campaign against motorists using mobile phones called ‘Focus on the Road While Driving’.
Figures show that in the last seven months 8,154 motorists were fined for using their phone – an increase of almost 1,000 on the previous year – resulting in a Dhs200 fine and four black points. Major Abdul Rahman Khatr, director of communications at Sharjah Police Traffic Department, stressed the gravity of these figures, reminding motorists that the majority of serious accidents were caused by mobile phone use. “The number one activity that should be occurring while you are behind the wheel is driving,” said Major Khatr. “Hundreds of thousands of people are injured each year as a result of distracted driving and these injuries and deaths are preventable.”
However, as the selfie trend grows worldwide, it’s not just phone calls and text messages that police are concerned about. “Unfortunately, it seems that driving selfies have become increasingly popular,” Major Khatr said. “Put the camera down and wait until you arrive at a safe destination.”
There has been an increase in international news about the dangers of social media use while driving. Earlier this year a North Carolina woman died in a head-on collision, seemingly because she was posting a selfie and updating her Facebook status. In reference to Pharrell Williams’ song she posted at 8.33am: “The happy song makes me HAPPY!” Police responded to an emergency call at 8.34am, and the young woman was pronounced dead.
Unfortunately, this incident is just one in a long list of tragedies involving dangerous selfies. The message from Sharjah Police is clear: there’s only one place you should be looking while you’re driving, and that’s not at your smartphone. Or as Major Khatr puts it: “Don’t let that driving selfie or video be the last photo you ever take.”