There are a lot of things you aren’t allowed (by law) to do while driving. For example, you can’t consume alcohol while driving. In many states you can’t use a hand held device (cell phone) or text while driving. Even certain things that aren’t prohibited specifically by law shouldn’t be done behind the wheel in order to ensure your safety and the safety of other drivers. For example, you shouldn’t read a book or shave while driving. The list of no-nos while behind the wheel goes on and on. Unfortunately, one woman did not think taking a selfie fell under this list of “no-nos.”
In July, a REDDI (Report Every Dangerous Driver Immediately Program) caller, reported that a Nissan was weaving all over the road (Hanlon, 2014). The Report Every Dangerous Driver Immediately Program is part of Alaska’s effort to curb aggressive and other dangerous driving habits and cut down on car accidents in general but car accident fatalities specifically. When Alaska troopers pulled the Nissan over they discovered a 59-year-old Wasilla woman named Susan Fellows driving (Hanlon, 2014). It is unclear how severely the Nissan was swerving or if any other rules of the road, so to speak, were being broken at the time the troopers pulled the vehicle over. However, upon pulling the vehicle over troopers found that “she [Susan Fellows] was text messaging and sending photographs of herself while driving” (Hanlon, 2014).
Texting and driving is against the law in Alaska as well as 43 other states in the United States. It was banned in the state of Alaska in May of 2012. However, the usage of a hand held device (cell phone) is still permitted while driving so a driver could make calls. For texting and sending selfies while driving Susan Fellows received a misdemeanor citation (Hanlon, 2014).
Alaska has already experienced its fair share of car accident fatalities this year. Aggressive driving and reckless driving have contributed to the more than 35 deaths thus far in 2014 (Ballard, 2014). Public perception of reckless driving such as texting, snapping selfies, applying makeup, reading, shaving, eating, etc. must change and acknowledge how dangerous these actions can be. Laws will not be enough to save lives.