Video blogs are so common that today we see people filming themselves anywhere at any time, even while driving. You’ve probably seen this a hundred times, or maybe even done it.
Vlogging while driving is a widespread and seemingly harmless practice, but… is it legal?
The short answer is that vlogging while driving is not illegal per se. But there’s something illegal in most countries called ‘distracted driving’, which includes using your smartphone among other things.
In this article, we will talk about these points and some important stuff that you need to know before recording a vlog behind the wheel.
First of all, let’s talk about a key term that we will use from now on: distracted driving.
Everything You Should Know About Distracted Driving
Generally speaking, and as the name implies, this term refers to the act of driving while doing other activities that distract the driver from the road.
Pretty obvious, right?
The thing here is that we are so used to see people talking, eating, or doing other activities while driving, that sometimes we don’t recognize when something is disturbing the driver’s attention.
For example, something as simple as having a conversation can interfere with your concentration if you’re constantly looking off the road to see the other person. Especially if you do it for a few seconds.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are three types of distractions to consider:
- Visual: when you take your eyes off the road.
- Manual: when you take your hands off the wheel.
- Cognitive: when your mind is focused on something else instead of driving.
Of course, using a cellphone is one of the most common and dangerous things to do while driving, because it includes the three types of distractions.
And, yes, no doubt that using a cellphone while driving can lead to terrible accidents. This is why we all have seen countless campaigns and laws to stop it.
However, if we look at this issue carefully, we can say that vlogging is another activity that also includes all three types of distractions. Don’t you think?
Vlogging and Distracted Driving
Some people might say that vlogging while driving should be no problem if you keep your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel. And perhaps they’re right.
But in reality, vloggers tend to look at the camera A LOT, and some of them even manipulate the camera while the car is moving.
I think it’s important to mention that no matter how skilled you are at driving, you shouldn’t take your attention off the road at any time.
Accidents come unexpectedly, so you need to be aware of your limits and be ready to act.
That said, is there a way to measure how distracting it is talking to a camera while driving?
Well, YouTuber Tom Scott made an interesting video about this topic back in 2017.
He went to the National Advanced Driving Simulator at the University of Iowa to know if vlogging and driving would be dangerous in the real world.
While Tom was in the simulator, a group of scientists were monitoring his level of attention to see how it varied when he spoke to the camera and when he was just driving.
He found out that even while you’re looking at the road, if your mind is focused on something else, like talking to a camera, you can miss some things on the way. Cognitive distraction, remember?
So, it seems that vlogging is distracting, and it can lead to some risks if you’re behind the wheel… but what does the law say about it?
Are There Any Laws on Vlogging While Driving?
We all know that texting while driving is prohibited in most places around the world, but what about vlogging? Is it the same in the eyes of the law?
Short answer: no.
As I told you, although there are no laws about vlogging while driving, there are laws about distracted driving and the use of mobile phones in the vast majority of countries.
And, since many people record themselves using their phones, you should be aware of what the law says about its use.
In general, it is illegal to hold a phone or another similar device while you’re driving. Even if you’re at a red light.
However, in the United States, every state has its own laws on the use of handheld and hands-free devices while driving.
In most states, only handheld use is banned but hands-free devices are allowed. There are even some states that only ban cellphone use for novice drivers.
If you live in the United States, you can check the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) website to take a closer look at the laws about distracted driving and cellphone use in every state.
Additionally, you can visit https://www.enddd.org/ to find more information about distracted driving and its consequences.
EndDD.org is an organization dedicated to educate about distracted driving and prevent accidents. They have a lot of articles and resources about this issue on their website. There’s even an article about vlogging that’s worth sharing.
Now, let’s sum all of this up:
At the moment I’m writing this article, there are no laws that mention vlogging while driving, but there are plenty about distracted driving, which is a serious problem worldwide.
Video blogs can become a worrying issue in the future if drivers don’t act responsibly now.
So, please, follow the rules and avoid holding a camera or taking your eyes off the road while driving. For your safety and the safety of others!
Tips for Vlogging Safely While Driving
I think the best advice I can give you about this matter is that it’s always better to avoid vlogging while driving.
But, if you want to do it because it’s necessary for the kind of content you are creating, there are a few things you should consider to do it safely:
Use a Phone/Camera Holder
Since you’re a responsible driver that will keep both hands on the wheel (right?), you need a phone or camera holder.
There are a lot of options in the market but, in general, there are two big categories: mounts that attach to the air conditioning vent and mounts that attach to the dashboard or windshield.
Maybe windshield mounts are more versatile and allow you to get better shots, but they can cause your phone to overheat on sunny days.
Also, try to look for mounts with extendable arms and/or adjustable heads so you can have more flexibility.
Oh, and consider the size! If the mount is too big, it can obstruct your view. Try to look for compact devices. They’re safer and more practical.
As for where to mount the phone, the safest place is on the windshield on the passenger side, with the camera pointed at you.
However, if you want to be closer to the camera, you can try to put it on the driver side window, but only if the device is small enough.
Camera or Phone?
Perhaps you use a DSLR or a mirrorless camera for your daily vlogs, but if you’re going to be recording inside a car, you’ll need a small camera.
Your smartphone is probably the best choice. There are plenty of accessories that you can buy, it’s comfortable and easy to use, and you will always have it with you.
If not, you can invest in a GoPro camera. They are useful for a ton of stuff besides videoing inside a car, they deliver amazing image quality, and are super small and portable.
Prepare Your Equipment Before Driving
Make sure you have all your equipment properly set up before you start driving so you don’t have to touch anything while you’re moving.
Remember that in many places it is illegal to manipulate mobile devices while you’re behind the wheel, so you better keep your phone away from your hands to avoid trouble with the law.
If you need to stop the video or change the position of the camera, park your car first.
Think About The Shots You Want Before You Start Recording
Let’s be honest: vlogging inside a car is unnecessary unless it’s consistent with the kind of video you’re creating. Therefore, you should think about the shots you want for your videos and why.
Perhaps you can ask yourself these questions:
- What do you want to show your audience?
- What happens inside the car that might be relevant to the video you’re making?
- Do you want some shots of the road to create cool transitions for your vlog?
Once you’re clear about what you want to show, it’s easier to determine what equipment you need.
Have Another Person Hold The Camera
If you’re going to be driving and you don’t have any equipment for vlogging inside your car, have another person to manipulate the camera.
It is much safer to leave all that responsibility to someone else so you can focus on what’s important: driving!
Last But Not Least…
If you’re going to be vlogging inside your car, you should do it while the car is parked or in controlled spaces with low traffic.
Try to record only in places you know and, of course, don’t go too fast!
Remember: be careful. Being behind the wheel is a big responsibility, so you should be focused on keeping yourself and others safe.
Also, remember that there are more rules of vlogging that you should be aware of.
What do you think about vlogging while driving?
Leave a comment below!
Will has been a full-time content creator since 2014. He’s an audio, video, and tech hobbyist dedicated to reviewing products and giving you the best tips he knows to grow your audience.