Texting, vlogging are dangerous actions behind the wheel

Texting and driving is now illegal in Oklahoma and considered a primary driving offense. Vlogging is another dangerous practice while driving.

With the prevalence of electronic devices like smartphones, distracted driving has become such a problem that the issue has prompted new laws across the country, including in Oklahoma. Smartphones perform many functions other than serving strictly as a telephone, which can be tempting for drivers who should have their full attention on the road.

According to NewsOK, in 2013 there were 602 crashes causing injuries and 14 people in Oklahoma were killed in accidents attributed to distracted drivers using electronic devices. One particular crash in which two state troopers were struck by a person updating a social media page while driving helped inspire a new law, which went into effect on November 1. Texting and driving is now considered a primary offense in Oklahoma. This means a police officer can pull a person over if he or she notices the driver using a device to read or send texts. A driver faces a $100 fine for texting and driving.

Vlogging is another dangerous form of distraction

Smartphones are popular for text messaging and getting onto the Internet, but many people also use an electronic device for vlogging - a term for creating video blogs to post online. It is becoming increasing popular to vlog while driving. Some vloggers claim that the practice does not make driving any more dangerous than talking to a passenger sitting next to them. However, recent research shows otherwise, states EndDD. Vlogging has been shown to cause distracted driving in the following ways:

• Drivers often take their eyes off the road numerous times or for several seconds at a time while self-filming a video.

• A device that attaches a smartphone or camera to the windshield may obstruct vision.

• The vlogger may be more focused on how he or she looks in the video, or on other subjects in the vehicle, than on the task of driving.

• Making a video while driving can take up too much of a person's concentration, causing "cognitive overload."

In fact, researchers say that this type of multi-tasking can take up 37 percent of the resources that the brain needs for driving. Hands-free devices may not be any safer. While laws against using cellphones and texting while driving have been passed in many states, there are currently no laws that specifically address video blogging behind the wheel. However, if a vlogger uses a smartphone to record videos, laws that prohibit using a phone at any time while driving may apply.

Types of distraction

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that there are three main types of driver distraction - visual, manual and cognitive. Texting and vlogging while driving can take a person's eyes off the road, hands off the wheel and mind off of driving, meaning these practices involve all three distracted driving types. Oklahoma residents who are injured by distracted drivers may wish to speak to a personal injury attorney to discuss their options.