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Now that so many of us have camera phones, we are all photographers. The muse is at work wherever we go, and the urge to snap a shot while driving or at a stop may be irresistible. But it is dangerous and you may be ticketed for it.
While there may be no explicit statement about photography in your state traffic laws, snapping photos when you're supposed to be focused on the road and other drivers is distracted driving. Distraction causes accidents, and distracted driving is a traffic infraction.
Eyes on the Road
Photographic distraction while driving is an increasing problem, so much so that one writer on GigaOm complained, "Austin is a picturesque city, but I was still surprised to look over on my way to an event on Wednesday evening and see the driver to my right aiming a camera phone at her right, while in moving traffic."
Obviously, that is a bad idea. Distracted driving covers everything from drinking coffee to texting and talking on the phone. Tickets can be costly and can cause your insurance to increase when you rack up points.
Plus, with pedestrians walking increasingly distractedly because they are also snapping pics and chatting and listening to music on phones, drivers must be even more vigilant than ever before. Studies across the country have shown that people are paying less attention than ever when they cross streets. So if drivers aren't looking and pedestrians aren't either, everyone is in trouble.
Resisting the Muse
From a philosophical perspective too, it is important to remember to be present. Photography is indeed a fine art and the temptation to share every delight or horror we come upon is strong with so many social networks connecting us. But really, we'll survive without the documentation of your drive, and you'll have a better chance of living to capture another day.
If you are cited for distracted driving or any other traffic infraction, talk to a lawyer. Counsel can fight the ticket or negotiate a plea with no points.