Is Shaming Bad Drivers Online OK?

khou.com
June 16, 2016

HOUSTON — What do you do when you see a bad driver on the road?

More and more people are taking out their smartphones and recording it. Not only that, they also posting the pictures and video online.

KHOU 11 News found several examples on Reddit, YouTube and Facebook showing drivers turning in the wrong lane, using an iPad behind the wheel and littering in the middle of the street.

Online public shaming is a trend Houston drivers see as either helpful or hurtful, depending on who you ask.

“I only do that if they’re parked dumb,” laughed Valerie Cruz, a Houston driver. “I don’t see how it helps unless you tell the person who did it.”

“Usually I’ll do it to protect other people, but then you have other people who just want it for likes, comments, just to go viral,” said Stephanie Carter.

“I think it’s a bad thing. One, because you’re driving more than likely when it’s happening. Two, because nothing really comes of it,” said Rene Fuentez.

Social media and public shaming are topics sociology professor Luis Salinas studies at the University of Houston.

“To me, it’s like a new phenomenon. I can’t just experience it for myself, somehow it’s become an extension of us. I have to record it and let everyone know what I saw as well,” Salinas said. “The thing I worry about is when you should be doing something. Instead of just videotaping it, this is leading to people being inactive. Not participating in social activism.”

Other drivers along Allen Parkway are concerned about the trend, too.

“While I do see humor in it and I think that it’s funny, ultimately it should be about safety, too,” Rob Woelk said. “Sometimes you shouldn’t be taking selfies while you’re driving and stuff like that.”

That being said, there’s one thing everyone agrees on: seeing other people’s driving habits blasted online is pretty good motivation to always be on your best behavior behind the wheel.

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