17 percent take selfies or other photos while driving, AT&T study says

Technically Incorrect: A study shows that 70 percent of people admit to engaging in some phone activity at the wheel: 28 percent surf the Web, 30 percent send tweets "all the time," and it doesn't stop there.

Chris Matyszczyk
3 min read

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.

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Indeed. AT&T

Our drift toward technology-inspired lunacy is becoming a swell.

Humans have all the resolve of a bat trying to cook coq au vin.

We get distracted by the silliest ideas, games and activities. These days, though, we're attached to our phones like leeches to a wrestler's artery.

New research performed by AT&T and Braun Research offers some idea of just how much we've lost our minds behind the wheel.

Seventy percent of respondents admitted they did something with their phones while driving. Sixty-one percent confessed to texting. Perhaps neither of these numbers are surprising.

But then there's this: 31 percent admitted to emailing while driving. (How long could these e-mails have been?)

A quite palpitating 28 percent said they'd surfed the Web at the wheel. But pride of place must surely be reserved for the 17 percent of respondents who said they took selfies or other photos while driving.

You might wonder what on earth is the purpose of snapping yourself, while potentially risking your life and that of others. You might also wonder why people go on vacations with their selfie-sticks or why the unsalvageable few prefer mayonnaise on their French fries, rather than ketchup.

This is who we are. I look at these results -- taken from a survey of 2,067 people aged from 18 to 65 -- and find them depressingly believable. And remember, these are the numbers of people who admitted to these habits while driving. Think of how many more do it and don't care to confess.

AT&T commissioned this survey as part of its "It Can Wait" initiative. But the respondents are clearly telling AT&T that it can't wait, principally because we have all taken leave of our marbles.

Thirty percent of these people admitted to posting to Twitter while driving -- "all the time." Twenty-eight percent said that, yes, they browse Facebook while driving.

I offer you this recent headline, in the complete knowledge that it will make no difference: " Driver was on Facebook before crash that killed three, say cops."

We know we will likely keep doing these things, because we're incapable of switching off from the digital world. (Example: In this survey, 10 percent admitted to participating in video chats.)

You can claim it's because we fear we'll miss out on something, but it's surely more than that.

We're hooked on the instant communication delivery and response that our phones offer and, frankly, demand. We're hooked like Pavlov's puppies on notifications, the need to constantly communicate with virtual friends, and watching the latest videos featuring a goat, a businessman and a children's slide.

No amount of legislation and sanction appears to make too much difference. Yesterday, the National Safety Council said that 27 percent of all car crashes involved some sort of phone activity.

Which all makes you wonder about the states of Arizona, Montana, Missouri and, amazingly, Texas. In these states, texting and driving is still legal -- at least under one condition or another. In Arizona, for example, only school bus drivers are banned from texting and driving. In Montana, there is no ban at all.

However much we might all think this is a terrible thing, how many of us have never partaken of this terrible practice? Even, dare I suggest, on a daily basis.