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#SAFETY! But first…Let me take a #selfie

Social media is inundated with photographs and videos of people in various situations such as hanging onto the top of skyscrapers and taking pictures, often without careful consideration of those around them.

When taking a picture do you ever consider the potential consequences? No? Well perhaps you should. With the rise of selfies has been the swift rise in selfie sticks and shockingly accidents. Selfie sticks allow users to take photographs of themselves and others at undeniably great angles. Just look at that many Eiffel tower selfies on the web. But, they can be dangerous. In June 2015 a gentleman extended his selfie stick, while on a ride in a Disney theme park, supposedly in the hopes of capturing his hair raising moment, but failed as he caused the ride operatives to shut the ride down and left the other guests stuck for about an hour.

After this incident Disney banned selfie sticks from all their parks. The selfie stick may provide for a great photo, but the concern lies in potential injury to other guests if they are inadvertently struck during a photo opportunity. There is the possibility that the selfie stick could inadvertently come into contact with parts of the ride that are crucial to its safe functioning.

Under the Occupiers’ Liability Act 1957, occupiers of premises have a duty to take reasonable care to ensure that their visitors are reasonably safe in using the premises for the purpose for which they have been invited.

Likewise, under the Work at Height Regulations 2005, employers must take suitable and sufficient steps to prevent the fall of any object or, where this is not reasonably practicable, take steps to prevent any person being struck by a falling object which is liable to cause personal injury.

Taking selfies and using selfie sticks can be a nuisance to others and could cause injury to others or create a major incident. So, they need to be used with due care and consideration.

I myself have fallen victim of a selfie stick attack. Ok less an attack but still a selfie stick hitting your shoulder is not pleasant and is a little painful. But that is nothing to some accidents which have been reported.

In 2015, there were 19 reported deaths caused by selfies. That’s more than deaths caused by shark attacks!

There are also a number of videos on YouTube of people taking selfies and making videos, while driving, not paying due care to the road and ending up in accidents. One man attempted to capture his alligator expedition with a selfie stick. He pointed the selfie stick out of his Jeeps window to film him driving, not concentrating on the road. There is a car, with a boat harnessed on, in front of him. He continues to drive not paying attention to the driver in front who seems to be slowing down and the boat ends up going through his windscreen.

There have been many reports and we are all too aware of how texting while driving is dangerous but it seems that there are many people out there who do not think twice about taking a photograph of themselves behind the wheel. In the time it takes to take a perfect selfie a lot can happen. Stopping a car travelling at 60 mph only takes approximately 4.5 seconds. If a driver is distracted, even for a short time, while in control of a vehicle they can cause serious injury to others.

Being distracted and taking your eyes of the road is dangerous not only to the driver but to other road users and pedestrians and could lead to road traffic accidents. If a driver is found to have been distracted and photographed themselves then they would more likely be responsible for an accident. Other drivers or pedestrians could be hurt or their vehicles could be damaged and the person responsible and their insurer may be held liable and face compensation claims. For more information about car accident claims please look at this blog post.

In 2003 new laws banned the use of hand held devices while driving and it will be interesting to see whether the rise in #selfie fails generates further discussion of the dangers and potentially changes in legislation.

They say a picture speaks a thousand words, do you want those words to be your last?

#Selfie before #safety…Surely Not!