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Al Castro's picture

Let’s Do Driverless Cars with the Ones We Have Now: Jumping Out for #InMyFeelings

Talk about eager to get into autonomous cars. Some people can’t wait until you have to get a real one. A national trend is developing quickly that has the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) alarmed that if it’s not soon abated it will add another condition to the already overburdened resources of local law enforcement, and that is car jumping to the song and social media movement #InMyFeelings by the pop artist Drake and recording the episode to post it on YouTube. The NTSB is telling people to stop.
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The National Transportation Safety Board issues a warning against people taking up the #InMyFeelings challenge who are recklessly jumping out of cars under roadway operation to apparently dance to a song performed by pop artist Drake. According to several sources no one has been killed or seriously injured yet, but there is published YouTube footage showing people jumping out of cars, some on the driver’s side while the car is engaged in forward operation apparently with the gear selector still in drive with no braking, and the drivers falling to the ground unable to recover to run back and retake command of the vehicle. In a few cases you see that during the falling the driver’s door closes making it more difficult to re-enter the car and recover:

  • Car jumping is a new form of distracted driving.
  • It seems older teenagers and younger adults are doing this.
  • It is a national trend just a few weeks old but is taking hold.
  • It is infectious because it is spreading awareness on social media for people to try it themselves then post it on sites like YouTube.
  • The NTSB issues an advisory and social media campaign.

Folks, in spite of all the hype and controversy about autonomous cars, they’re not completely here yet, and not ready for prime time, and yes Tesla AutoPilot included which shouldn’t even be called that, because it’s just adaptive cruise control, that’s it. But it seems some of our younger drivers are willing to be more forgiving of our current autonomy issues to just go ahead and go driverless with the current Level 0 ones we presently drive.

For what hopefully will be one of the last few times I’ll have do this, I’m stepping away from my electric vehicle reporting on Torque News for this story and stepping toward my former law enforcement role, to appeal to young adults and their parents, actually a few of the parents themselves too, for whom we may need to have a national conversation, especially if they might be using their parents’ or someone else’s car without them knowing, about the danger of jumping out of a car on the driver’s side while the automatic transmission is engaged in drive and with nothing or no one covering the brake. Essentially whether if it’s only for a few seconds for no more than a minute, because as parents we’ve all heard the excuse “it was only for a few seconds, Jeez.” Well folks, let me tell you what could happen in those few seconds. Here a few samples of people’s TomFoolery on YouTube:

We’ve already seen samples on YouTube where as soon as the driver hops out of the moving car, they fall to the ground and can’t get up right away to recover. In some cases, they close the door to a moving car, and car doors weren’t designed to be opened while moving. It’s a bit more difficult to do and maintain your balance while running. I’ve seen cops do it when a driver is unconscious or overdosed and they need to stop the car. I’ll be the first one to say I’ve done some foolish and ballsy things when I was younger. Being a recovered adrenaline addict my first inclination is to say who am I to judge? But this car jumping takes the cake. To hell with driverless cars, let’s just use the ones we drive now!

Car jumping is a new form of distracted driving, and oddly enough it’s one thing for a driver to be behind the wheel of a vehicle for his mind to be elsewhere, in this case, the body goes with it, as for just a few seconds the driver’s seat is empty when he jumps out. While this is happening depending on who’s up front doing what, the opposite seat occupant, if the driver jumps, then that’s the front passenger, takes out the cell phone camera and starts recording to post on sites like YouTube or periscope on Twitter, or live stream on Facebook. The NTSB thinks this has the potential of becoming such a serious issue they too are going on social media to make their objections known:

NTSB Chief of Safety Advocacy, Nicholas Worrell, told The Blast something that, somehow, isn’t obvious to literally every driver in America, saying:

“Hopping out of a moving vehicle or jumping into lanes of traffic to show your dance moves is foolish and dangerous – to you and those around you.”
“There’s a time and place for everything, but our nation’s highways and roadways are no place for the #inmyfeelings challenge.”

The Medical First Aid Side: Being Hit by a Car v. Being Rolled Over by One

It doesn’t take much for a car the weighs at least 1-2.5 tons to seriously injure someone by simply crushing them to death. I’d like my EMT, Paramedics, Nurses, and ER doctors who are my readers to chime in please. You see, in the falling down on the road and trying to recover by grabbing the door, the person now risks getting run over by the real wheel, and in doing so risks serious injury or death by either the rear wheel crushing their throat or running over the rib cage that can cause spinal damage.

When someone is hit by a car by the usual circumstances, a fatal pedestrian fatality can usually occur as low as 15 miles per hour, that usually entails blunt force trauma. It’s not necessarily the mass of the vehicle that kills you but the sudden trauma of being hit by a vehicle by its mass with such an impact that sudden shock and usually death quickly ensues. Getting hit by a car is similar to falling off the roof of a building: it’s the impact, not the weight of anything that kills you, and you go quickly. Your spinal column is in someway shattered in pieces, between that and being in shock you usually don’t feel anything.

When you get rolled over or pinned by a motor vehicle, that is more of a crushing than a hitting, so you are much more conscious and aware, and in that, you’re more likely to suffer before going into shock and unconsciousness before death. Not a pleasant way to go: usually you have a hard time breathing.

The Legal Side: Reckless Endangerment, the Substantial Risk of Injury by Depraved Indifference

That takes care of emergency medical first responder aspect of car jumping. This where I need the cops, lawyers, and judges to chime in please. Depending on how a state statute is written, the driver or anyone inside the vehicle who was a participant in this, can be charged with reckless endangerment. Reckless endangerment starts as a misdemeanor in some states, punishable to up to a year in prison and/or a fine. If the risk was substantial, or if someone was injured, then it becomes a felony. A felony is punishable starting from a year in prison, and more.

When you agree to car jump, and someone else inside or outside the car agrees to record it, and no one in the car or anyone outside who was aware of the agreement that this was going to happen and/or saw it happening, but didn’t try to stop it or report it, and can reasonably prove they tried to (a good time to voice your objections is on that same video with people laughing thinking this is funny) all the participants in view or within earshot of the recording can be arrested and charged with reckless endangerment. Everyone seen or heard in these videos was some kind of participant to an action which could have created a substantial risk of depraved indifference to human life.

Reckless endangerment is when you knowingly and recklessly decide to commit an act which creates the possibility of causing injury, serious physical injury, or death to another human being, whether you successfully completed the act or not. With death or serious physical injury the culpable mental state jumps to depraved indifference to human life. If an animal is injured in this action, you would be additionally charged with cruelty to animals even if a dog accidentally got run over with an empty driver’s seat. You still created a risk, and that risk you saw as a joke, is now about depraved indifference to any life for which the court could prove: you may have regrets about it now, but you had no regards for it then.

“It’s 6 p.m. Do you know where your children are? Do you know who they hang out with?”

It’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt. Ironically I pray no one does. But we all need to step up and stop this before someone does by policing each other before the police does it for us. I like to tell parents of older children/young adults: if you don’t want the police policing your kids, then start policing them yourselves so we don’t have to! Never mind “it’s 10 pm.” We should make that alarm earlier, it doesn’t mean they have to come home earlier, just know where and what they’re doing: “It’s 6 pm. Do you know where your children are? Do you know who they hang out with?”

The odd thing is, regardless of your age, if any of you personally witnessed as I have, a person or animal get hit or rolled over by a car, or jump off or get pushed off the roof of a building, you would have disdain for this and would do anything to stop people like this from doing that or report them if they do. Witnessing such a horrific act as blunt trauma or being crushed to death is something I don’t want anyone to ever witness, let alone experience.

In this example the driver stopped and put the car in parked to get out and dance on his driver’s side, but still in the middle of the street. He got run over by another car:

Whats your opinion on car jumping? Let us know in the comments section below!


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Comments

Thanks for the article Al. As a former police officer you must have seen too many deaths and serious injuries from accidents and drunk driving. I had not heard of this stupid trend, but I hope that the interest stops once the fail videos circulate
Thanks Dean!