To mark Road Safety Week (16-22 November 2020) the truth about a cocktail-drinking North East Instagram couple has come to light. After building a following of thousands before seeming to crash their vehicle whilst filming themselves the couple have been revealed as models with fake accounts hired by the regional Road Respect campaign, to raise awareness of the serious consequences of the growing trend to #carfie and drive. 

Rachael Rogers (@rachaelrogers11) and Callum Shaw (@callumshaw2) appeared to post photos and videos taking selfies and filming themselves and friends while driving over two years.

Followers watched as their social media posts and behaviour became increasingly reckless, with one video showing Callum appearing to speed while filming, captioned; “might be rough from last night but I’ll get to work on time #fastandfurious #needforspeed”

Another of Rachael’s posts showed her filming from her car while in stationary traffic, captioned; “Out of my way kids! #hurryhurry”. 

The ‘fake’ Instagram couple highlight how normalised some of our dangerous driving behaviour appears to have become. The fake couple sought to shock drivers into realising the serious consequences of dangerous driving behaviour, particularly using social media whilst driving, by pulling them into Rachael and Callum’s world, before pulling the plug on their lives.

Using a mobile phone while driving is against the law in the UK, and is punishable by six penalty points on a licence and a £200 fine. In some cases, it will result in a driving ban. 

According to research by national motoring organisation RAC in their annual Report on Motoring 2019, in which they survey 1,700 motorists across the UK, illegal use of mobile phones has rocketed in recent years.  

More than a third of drivers aged 25 to 34 (36%) send texts, social media posts or emails while driving, compared to just 16% of drivers in all age groups.

Twenty-nine per cent of drivers in the 35-44 age group admit to doing this while driving, up a huge 10% in 2017 and back to the same level as in 2016.

According to the RAC, the temptation to use a phone to take photos, selfies or videos is also clear, with almost a third of drivers aged 25 to 34 (30%) saying they do this while driving, which is more than double the proportion of all drivers who do this (16%).

A car travelling at 60mph travels 54metres in the 2 seconds it takes to snap one #carfie –the length of 4 double-decker buses. And in the time it takes to film at 6 second video, a vehicle travels 161metres, or further than the length of a football pitch. During that time, drivers’ eyes are on their phones, not the road they’re driving on, or obstacles in it.

A spokesperson for the Northumbria Safer Roads Initiative (NSRI), said; “The statistics show an increased use of mobile phones while driving, especially to take selfies, post on social media, text and email while driving. Hashtags like #carfie #drivingselfie #carfielove and #selfiedriving are all popular on social media and reflect the growing problem. 

“We want to help keep the people of the North East as safe as possible, and our Instagram campaign aims to highlight the dangers caused by the distractions of mobile phone use while driving. Is that selfie, text or social post worth risking your life, or someone else’s for?”