Omaha, NE - It is the growing and troubling trend when it comes to distracted driving. Young drivers taking pictures of themselves while behind the wheel. One teen outside Burke High School told us, "Everyone posts selfies, everyone does it. " Another girl said, " I've actually done it before."
A check of Instagram shows almost 6000 posts under the #drivingselfie or #drivingselfies hashtag. The teen drivers added, " I think people think it's funny" and " kids having fun ".
But the risks can be deadly. This will be Rob Reynolds seventh Thanksgiving since the death of his daughter, 16-year-old Katy, at the hands of a distracted driver in West Omaha. Reynolds said, " It makes me angry that we haven't gotten to the point as a society that we take it seriously. " Reynolds is the Director of the The Alliance for Safer Teen Driving. It's a group that constantly gets the message out about the dangers of distracted driving, including texting and now selfies. He noted sometimes it seems like the battle is impossible, "sadness and a sense of self deflation because I work so hard at getting the message across. "
Nebraska State Trooper Keith Bell often goes to schools and talks to young people about the dangers of using your cell phone while driving. He says if you make a mistake while taking a picture or selfie, the odds are not on your side. He said, " for lack of a better term, it's stupid. On this roadway the average individual passes anyone at any given time roughly six feet apart. That's six feet to make a mistake. "
The Federal Department of Transportation reports in 2011, 3331 people died in distracted driving crashes. Here in Nebraska, in 2012, there were 1317 crashes with injuries due to distracted driving, 17 people died.
Rob Reynolds says as a result he will once again push lawmakers in Nebraska to make texting and driving, including taking selfies, a primary driving offense instead of a secondary violation
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