Have you noticed people using their phone when driving and at the same time using Snapchat, Periscope, Facebook Live or one of the many mobile apps for live video?
I recall being somewhat taken aback that people would do this when I first noticed this happening. I’ve even seen some very well known people live stream when driving. It’s sometimes hard to say something to people in public or even private – many people will offer the comment that because their phone is in a phone holder it is safe to do so.
Just a couple of weeks ago I came across what I thought looked like an interesting conference and one I might like to attend. I thought I would like to know a little more about the person hosting the event so I followed a link through to their Facebook profile and a couple of posts down I saw a Facebook Live stream replay. The person (an entrepreneur) was in their car and started their stream saying that they knew many people don’t like people live streaming when driving but they were safe as the phone was in a mount.
Just over their shoulder you could see their toddler asleep in a car seat.
The live stream went on for about 20 minutes – I did not watch it all but I did take some screen shots for the archives of what not to do when live streaming! During the live stream the entrepreneur proceeded to share tips and information.
I checked the comments on the stream and there were very few, though one person did comment that they wish the entrepreneur had not live streamed when driving. The entrepreneur replied in the comments that the person should go back and watch the beginning of the live stream and not make a judgement until they had watched the beginning where they said the stream was safe as the phone was in a mount and the live stream started before they commenced driving.
What immediately went through my head when I saw this on Facebook Live was:
- the entrepreneur is a better person than me at live streaming – I know when I deliver content I have to be focused so I do not lose my train of thought, and I certainly could not do that when driving at the same time
- the entrepreneur is being disrespectful of her audience for the live stream – if you can not give your full attention to the people watching why not wait until you have time? In addition, on live streams people do expect that their comments are noted by the live streamer – this is one of the powers of live video, audience engagement
- what would the entrepreneur think if someone caused them to have an accident – perhaps even a fatal one which impacted their family members? Would they be so understanding and think the fact the driver was live streaming had no influence on the accident?
Bottom line, I left the experience resolved not to share or attend the conference. After all, what we share reflects on our own reputation. What would my network think if they came across that same live stream? I am sure my purchase of a ticket will not make a difference to the financial success of the event – but I wonder how many other people felt the same? As it was clear that on the issue of streaming and driving myself and the entrepreneur have very different values, it is not an event I want to endorse.
Roll on to this week and I noticed someone in my network had streamed a Periscope, again from their car when driving. This person proceeded to report on what was going on around them, turned the camera from front to rear facing and back again, and read and respond to comments.
So yes live streaming when driving is alive and well – and in both situations the people involved were not teens – they were at least aged 35 years of age.
What was so urgent that these people needed to live stream when driving? Nothing! The live streams could have waited.
It is almost two years since Periscope launched and one of the people I met in the early days was a UK Police Sergeant who was using Periscope to share public safety tips including safe driving tips. His name is Neil and he goes by the name of SgtTCS on Twitter. Over time, we have got to know each other and he has been a guest on my live streams and podcasts talking about an initiative he started called ‘Don’t Stream and Drive‘.
Last year he facilitated a day called Don’t Stream and Drive Day which was successful in building awareness; the campaign was even reported on the BBC website.
This year, the 2 March 2017 is #DontStreamAndDrive Day.
Interestingly today, 1 March 2017, legislation in the UK changes in relation to driving and handling a mobile phone.
Here is a summary of the UK legislation:
It is illegal to use a handheld mobile when driving. This includes using your phone to follow a map, read a text or check social media. This applies even if you’re stopped at traffic lights or queuing in traffic
It is illegal to use a handheld phone or similar device when supervising a learner driver
You can only use a handheld phone if you are safely parked or need to call 999 or 112 in an emergency and it’s unsafe or impractical to stop
If you’re caught using a handheld phone while driving, you’ll get 6 penalty points on your licence and a fine of £200. Points on your licence will result in higher insurance costs
If you get just 6 points in the first two years after passing your test, you will lose your licence
Using hands free (e.g. for navigation) is not illegal. However, if this distracts you and affects your ability to drive safely, you can still be prosecuted by the police
I invited Neil to join me for a live stream to explore the details of the legislation changes in the UK – important if you ever plan to drive in the UK – and also about the Don’t Stream and Drive initiative.
We discussed how you can support the campaign by sharing an image of your eyes in close up and the message “My eyes are on the road not on my phone” on your social networks. See an example of one I created below. Remember to use the campaign hashtag #DontStreamAndDrive. Check out his Twitter account for examples of what others are sharing in relation to the campaign.
You can also get involved by signing up to the Thunderclap campaign here.
I hope you find the live stream informative – please share this live stream if you care about the safety of your friends, family, colleagues and community and help them understand why we should not live stream and drive.
And remember that you do not have to wait until #DontStreamAndDrive Day each year to share this message – you can do it any time you see fit – and check out the hashtag on Twitter for inspiration and ideas of how others are sharing the message about this road safety campaign.
And I hope the live stream has inspired you to consider how you can use live video to share about your cause or campaign as both Neil and I have done. If you have questions about using live video for public service announcements and campaigns, you can schedule a confidential conversation with me here.