How Many People Have Been Killed While Taking a Selfie Behind the Wheel? Two.
Or, at least, that’s what this nifty, little, easily digestible graph from Priceonomics would lead you to believe.
The often utilized and equally abhorred selfie, the act of recording a moment in time of thyself, has been directly linked to the deaths of two people while driving, according to news reports compiled by Priceonomics. That pales in comparison to the 16 people who’ve fallen from great heights to their deaths in their personal quests to capture that perfect MySpace-esque profile pic.
Or, you know, impaired driving deaths.
To its credit, Priceonomics does give us a disclaimer:
This is by no means a conclusive study (there are, no doubt, unreported cases), but it still gives us a visage into both the scope of the issue, and those who are affected by it.
The website used the last three years of news archives via Google News and Wikipedia as its dataset. What its author found: of the 49 reported selfie-caused deaths, 73.5 percent of those killed were male (which surprises me considering my own Snapchat feed) and the average age of those killed was 21 (not surprising considering my own Snapchat feed).
But, this is a bit granular, isn’t it?
Consider this instead: In 2013, distracted driving — which includes eating, texting, talking on the phone, talking to other people in the car, changing the radio station and thinking about that amazing teenage sex you’re about to have so you better get there quick before Billy finds out Nancy really, really likes him — was the leading cause of death amongst teen drivers … supposedly. Even reputable sources contradict each other on this.
Instead, let’s just go with one number from the U.S. Department of Transportation that includes all people killed by distracted driving in all age groups in 2013: 3,154. That number is actually down from a year prior, which scored 3,328 distracted driving deaths — of which the humble selfie might make up a total of two.
And yet, impaired driving is way, way more likely to kill you. In the same year as those 3,154 distracted driving deaths, 10,076 people lost their lives in crashes with someone with a BAC above 0.08 behind the wheel. We don’t have numbers on how many of those deaths were caused by Pabst Blue Ribbon, but that would be about the impaired driving equivalent of a selfie death.
Let’s forget the selfie stat though and focus on the bigger numbers, because they do raise a couple of questions: 1) Why does the government have an entire website devoted to distracted driving awareness and not impaired driving awareness? And, 2) why can’t we have more people like Whitney Beall of Lakeland, Florida so we can nail more people for driving doubly dirty?
More by Mark Stevenson
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