The deadly consequences of “going live”

The advent of modern technology has created convenience beyond anyone’s wildest dreams. Cellular telephones that became flip phones and evolved into smart phones are commonplace in all forms of communication. Ironically, actual calls are a growing rarity and have been largely overtaken by texting and video.

Launched in 2015, Facebook Live provides users with the opportunity to stream live video for friends and family via their smart phones and other devices. Chris Cox, Facebook’s chief product officer, described it as a little TV studio for Facebook enthusiasts. Even local and national networks have gotten into the act, replacing video cameras with reporters’ phones to broadcast breaking news and other significant events.

Deadly distractions changing and ending lives

Without knowing, Facebook Live user Brooke Miranda Hughes broke her own story while driving slowly while using her mobile device. Mere moments after launching her midnight broadcast live from the right lane of Interstate 380 in Pennsylvania, a tractor-trailer crashed into the back of her car.

Seven minutes of blackness followed the sights and sounds of the collision as the live broadcast continued with Hughes, 18, and passenger Chaniya Morrison-Toomey, 19, dead from the impact. The driver of the truck was uninjured.

Whether sending a text, checking email, or posting an update or live video, cell phones continue to create distractions as drivers take their eyes off where they should be: on the road. Stringent laws are in place throughout the country. However, drivers taking responsibility for their and other drivers’ safety will reduce distracted driving accidents.

Social media’s live-streaming video services are now dominant platforms. As this and other types of technologies grow, so does the likelihood of more tragic and highly preventable motor vehicle crashes. Questions will also continue, many amidst the echoes of Morrison-Toomey’s own question that served as her last words.

"Are you going live?"

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