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Snapping "Selfies" While Driving Is Dangerous, Warns AAA

IRVING (CBSDFW.COM) - We've all heard the "don't text and drive" message many times.   AAA Texas is now warning drivers about another danger behind the wheel, snapping selfies.

AAA Texas says the act of drivers posing for pictures is becoming more prevalent, particularly with young people.  A quick search of social media sites like Twitter and Instagram will find the hashtags #drivingselfie, #drivingfast, #drivingtowork, and #drivingintherain, along with drivers engaging in the dangerous behavior.  AAA Texas says that in some of the photos, you can see the speedometer as proof the car is moving.

"The only thing you should be doing while driving is focusing on the road ahead.  Taking pictures or video takes your focus off the road," said AAA Texas/New Mexico Representative Doug Shupe. "Hundreds of thousands of people are injured and killed each year as a result of distracted driving and these injuries and deaths are entirely preventable. Put the camera down and wait until you arrive at a safe destination.  Don't let a driving selfie or video be the last photo you ever take."

In the two seconds it can take to snap a photo, a car can travel 176 feet at 60 mph, according to AAA.  That's the length of nearly half a football field or two basketball courts.  Drivers who take their eyes off the road to record a six second video, can travel 528 feet at 60 mph.  That translates to one and a half football fields and more than five and a half basketball courts.  Videos of up to six seconds can be posted on social media sites like Vine and Twitter.  Instagram allows videos of up to 15 seconds in length.

While drivers know the dangers of distracted driving, statistics show that many still engage in the activity.  According to the latest National Occupant Protection Use Survey, published in 2011, about 660,000 drivers are using cell phones or other electronic devices during the daytime.  Cell phone use contributed to 385 deadly crashes in 2011.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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