Reporters Notebook: Stop Snapchatting While You Drive
ST. CLOUD - I was born in 1991, so I'm part of a generation that grew up attached to growing technology and rapid expansion of the internet.
While there are numerous benefits to the growing technology in our world, I feel my generation often fails to notice that our devices can cause harm under certain circumstances.
Smartphones are fantastic and I'll be the first to admit that I love using social media. However, I've noticed a specific and troubling trend with those (usually, but not always) in my age group.
Not only are we texting more while we drive, we're also Snapchatting while we're on the road.
I guess texting and driving wasn't dangerous enough.
If you're not familiar with Snapchat, here's a brief description: it's a photo-video messaging app that allows you to send ‘snaps’ to your friends/contacts. You set a time limit at 10 seconds or less for how long they can view the snap before it disappears from their phone.
It's an enormously popular app, especially for younger people. According to the Snapchat website, over 60 percent of U.S. 13 to 34 year old smart phone users are Snapchatters. There are over 100 million daily active users, and that number is only expected to grow. Younger people love Snapchat because it's visual, expressive....and their parents haven't quite figured it out yet.
It's a fun app, one that I use quite often. However, without naming names, I've noticed quite a few people my ages taking snap videos while they're driving on the road.
What's so thrilling or interesting about Snapchatting while driving?...Nothing at all from what I can tell. Here are the Snapchat updates I typically see while people are on the road:
- "Here's the song that's playing on my radio right now!"
- "I'm stuck in traffic-boooo!"
- Using the MPH filter to show how fast you're going.
- Some even take selfie videos..WHILE THEY'RE DRIVING!
This is it. That's right: we're risking our lives in giant pieces of metal going down the highway...just so you can show your friends that Nickleback is playing on your radio.
Perhaps I'm being harsh. But these actions can have severe consequences. According to a recent New York Times Article, a lawsuit accused a teen of recklessly using Snapchat while driving over 100 MPH. The crash resulted in severe injuries.
Teenagers make up a large portion of Snapchatters and a recent AAA report emphasized increasing trends in risky behaviors made by teenage drivers, saying 60 percent of moderate-to-severe teen driving crashes involve some form of distraction.
Let's help stop the growing issue of distracted driving one step at a time: Stop Snapchatting while you're on the road. Instead, take more pictures of your pets and what you're eating for dinner: those tend to be 100 times more interesting anyway.
(St. Cloud Police also confirm distracted driving is a growing concern with our local college student population-see video below)