Streaming and Driving: A Potentially Dangerous Combination

Video and IRL streaming platforms have grown at tremendous rates in the last few years. Therefore, it is only natural that streamers and fans are still trying to figure out what works and what doesn’t.

Just as society evolves and we, on occasion, look back in horror, perhaps in the future, we will come to see the act of streaming and driving as increasingly irresponsible.

Streaming platforms like Twitch, especially with their non-video game IRL section, are a place where creators film themselves partaking in mundane activities such as driving. While you could watch the vast majority of these videos and feel at ease, there have been some stories that might make you think differently about the act of streaming while driving.

Driving, even in the safest of conditions, should be viewed as an extremely dangerous activity that requires due care and attention. Cars weigh tons, and all it takes is a moment’s distraction to cause a potential catastrophe.

Streaming and Driving Has Become a Hot Topic

Streaming, without a doubt, is a very distracting activity, especially if you’re interacting with your audience via chat.

Yet, the concept of streaming while driving isn’t entirely new, especially with platforms like Periscope, Facebook, and Instagram Live. Because of IRL, it’s now a thing in modern-day Twitch as well.

Streaming while driving has become a hot topic on separate occasions over the past few years, particularly because a lot of streamers have either faced criticism or been punished in some manner by Twitch.

Where Do Twitch Stand on this Matter

Streamer Crash Sideneuk
Polish streamer Sideneuk; Twitter.

Twitch’s guidelines are rather vague regarding banning and suspension.

Usually, the driving-related bans come under the community violation ‘self-harm,’ a broad category covering everything from drinking to suicide threats.

Popular Twitch streamers like Connor Lipke, Asian Andy, and Sideneuke, amongst others, got banned from the platform for the same violation.

While the first two were caught interacting with their chats directly, the incident with Sideneuke was more severe (more on this below).

Why do some Streamers get Banned while others don’t?

The question that one needs to ask is why people continue to violate these guidelines despite the consequences being so dangerous. With the number of incidents that have occurred, these questions have often got emotional responses from the Twitch community.

The platform’s guidelines state that creators must adhere to the law of the country, state, and town they are living in. Where streaming or filming while driving is made illegal in most states, the law doesn’t give a clear verdict on chatting, taking selfies, etc.

Typically, all of these come under the punishment for distracted driving and violation of phone rules, which entails a huge fine and even jail time in some parts of the country.

In 2015 alone, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported 3500 killed and 400,000 injured due to distracted drivers. Inevitably, many states are revising their technology laws and the impact they can have on these accidents.

In 2018, Georgia passed a law prohibiting drivers from recording themselves or streaming live while driving. Washington came up with the Driving Under the Influence of Electronics Act. Florida, too, just made driving and texting a major offence.

Times Streamers Have Caused Accidents While Streaming and Driving

If streamers are interacting with their viewers, talking with friends, or even shooting a scene, they are veering off track. As stressed throughout this piece, distraction and driving are not two words you want to see placed with each other.

One such instance is when a streamer based in Lithuania crashed into a barrier in a parking lot while distracted behind the wheel. The creator appeared to have been reading his live chat, and in a couple of seconds, the collision happened.

As the streamer, AudiGames, was exiting the lot, he seemed to be totally oblivious to the barrier and drove right into it, though at a very low speed. Luckily, no one got injured, but the streamer caused considerable property damage in the incident.

Another IRL Twitch streamer, Skill Specs, was caught in a bike crash during recording. Soon after it happened, the incident was posted online.

The video shows the streamer introducing himself to the audience, where he turns the camera to film himself, disbalances, and falls off of his bike in an instant. Despite being in pain, he remains calm and laughs it off by saying, “Oh that’s no good.”

Shortly after, he shared a painful-looking x-ray showing his snapped collarbone, with the sardonic caption, “Happy new year….” Interestingly enough, some had already predicted the impending crash seconds before it happened, yet another instance of distracted driving resulting in serious consequences.

Animal lovers like myself are likely to be upset with this one. A Twitch streamer was caught in an accident live on camera, where she appears to have run over a dog while using her phone. A polish streamer, Sideneuk, was streaming on Twitch while driving her car at high speed.

The clip shows her checking a notification on her phone when she appears to have suddenly hit something. Completely in shock, the streamer gets out of her car to check for damage as she prompts the sound of a dog wailing in pain.

A few seconds later, she returns, complaining about people letting their dogs out on the street. The creator described it as “against the law” as she drove off with no apparent remorse. Her account was suspended shortly after the incident.

The Lower Silesian Inspectorate for Animal Protection confirmed that the prosecutor’s office was informed about the case. Although the officer acknowledged the problem, he did remind the listeners of their social duty to be empathetic and caring towards living beings around them.

The Bottom Line

Addiction to our mobile phones is a real menace, and streaming categories like IRL do nothing but perpetuate the problem. Rapidly changing technology, lack of laws, confusion in implementation, and, in some cases, hard-to-enforce laws further contribute to this.

It is important to note I feel that the majority of the time, streamers can do this relatively safely, but I guess the word ‘relatively’ needs to be emphasised here. Streaming causes drivers not to be 100% focused on the road, and this should, by all means, be discouraged.