Police: Layton Crash Caused By ‘Bird Box Challenge’ While Driving
LAYTON, Utah – A teenage driver who police said covered her eyes with a beanie hat while driving crashed into another car and then skidded into a light pole earlier this week.
Investigators with the Layton Police Department said the incident was motivated by a recent Netflix show starring Sandra Bullock.
The 17-year-old driver was on Layton Parkway with a 16-year-old passenger Monday evening when she lost control of the pickup, crossed into oncoming traffic and crashed into a car driven by a 56-year-old man, police said.
There were no injuries reported.
“We found out after the crash that it was, unbelievably, the Bird Box Challenge,” Lt. Travis Lyman said.
Bird Box Challenge while driving…predictable result. This happened on Monday as a result of the driver covering her eyes while driving on Layton Parkway. Luckily no injuries. pic.twitter.com/4DvYzrmDA2
— Layton Police (@laytonpolice) January 11, 2019
Police said it’s fortunate no one was killed.
Officials said they believed the teen driver’s actions were motivated by the Bird Box Challenge, an online viral challenge in which people try to accomplish tasks while blind-folded.
Bird Box is a popular Netflix movie where the main characters cover their eyes to avoid death. It has quickly turned into popular memes and challenges, where people try to complete daily tasks while blindfolded.
A short trailer doesn't even do Bird Box justice. So, I'm going to give you five minutes from the film instead. (And don't worry, you won't have to wait much longer to watch it in full – it's out tomorrow.) pic.twitter.com/ue116Uwejn
— Netflix Film (@NetflixFilm) December 20, 2018
Safety advocates have been baffled as they remind all drivers that you can kill yourself if you try to drive blind-folded, or with your hat over your eyes.
“It seems to be a trend that it’s going across the nation right now,” said John Gleason, a Utah Department of Transportation spokesman and safety advocate for Zero Fatalities.
He was stunned that anyone would try the Bird Box Challenge while driving.
“This is shocking,” he said. “It could be deadly.”
Online there are other examples of people driving while blindfolded, while someone else calls out obstacles.
“This is one thing we thought we’d never have to say. Don’t drive blindfolded,” said Gleason. “It should go without saying. It’s ridiculous to think that something like this happened.”
Netflix has also weighed in on the challenge, asking viewers not to do something that would hurt themselves.
Can’t believe I have to say this, but: PLEASE DO NOT HURT YOURSELVES WITH THIS BIRD BOX CHALLENGE. We don’t know how this started, and we appreciate the love, but Boy and Girl have just one wish for 2019 and it is that you not end up in the hospital due to memes.
— Netflix US (@netflix) January 2, 2019
Layton police added their voices to the many asking people not to put their lives or the lives of others at risk.
“To purposely do this and impair yourself basically as you’re driving, intentionally, seems pretty reckless,” said Lt. Lyman.
Initially, investigators did not know she had intentionally covered her eyes. After follow-up interviews, the teen driver admitted to pulling her beanie over her eyes.
KSL spoke with a man who identified himself as a family member of the teen driver. He insisted she was not doing the Bird Box Challenge, rather she was talking about the challenge with her friend and briefly pulled her beanie over her eyes.
Regardless of the length of time her vision was impaired, police said the driver intentionally blocked her own sight.
“Driving is so serious, and the stakes are so high anyway. To try to do it in that condition, not being able to see anything, is extremely dangerous,” said Lt. Lyman.
It also puts others at risk.
“There’s a tendency to kind of chuckle when you hear a story like this, but there’s nothing funny about this,” said Gleason. “They could kill themselves, or kill other people out on the road.”
Officials said the teen driver faced a charge of reckless driving.