Broadcasting live video of yourself is now easy with apps such as Periscope and Facebook Livestream on your smartphone. Even YouTube is getting in on it. The possibilities are endless, from enabling relatives across the world to see a special occasion such as your wedding, to running business meetings and presentations.
Because everyone wants their 15 minutes of fame, live streaming is incredibly popular: Periscope has been used for over 200 million streams in the last twelve months, and it’s so popular that people refer to it as ‘scoping’. People simply want to share what they are doing, and unfortunately a number of them are doing it while driving. Even celebrities have got in on it with Lewis Hamilton filming himself riding over the Auckland Harbour Bridge on a Harley Davidson.
We know the major distractions while driving: tiredness, adjusting the radio, eating, smoking, adjusting the air conditioning and so on. These are well-publicised. None of the studies mention streaming yourself while driving because it’s too new.
Technically it is a criminal offence to do it if you are the one controlling the mobile phone. New Zealand’s laws prevent the operation of a mobile phone app when a) it’s not in a cradle and b) it’s not related to making or receiving a phone call, or using it for navigation.
A further issue with these apps is that they can provide the ability for people to comment on the stream and for the streamer to respond to those comments, which is yet another distraction. As with any distraction the main consequence is to reduce the time it takes to react to a situation on the road that requires you to either brake or steer to avoid. It means you are more likely to drift over the centre line into oncoming traffic – particularly bad for you if it’s a logging truck, and particular bad for them if they are a motorcyclist.