A worst-case scenario: being the subject of a video on the subreddit Livestream Fail titled “Guy wrecks car while reading Twitch chat and driving.”
In the 2018 video, a Twitch streamer named Jaystreazy is at the wheel of his car, rapidly shifting his eyes between the road and what is presumably a mounted phone screen displaying a live feed of Twitch viewers’ comments. A fan whose handle includes the number “420” tells Jaystreazy that his stream is “pretty awesome.” Jaystreazy agrees, reiterating, “This is pretty fucking awesome,” before immediately crashing his car.
You might think that incident, and around a half-dozen others, would have scared people off doing it again, but Twitch users are still streaming while driving. Over the last couple weeks, two more Twitch streamers have been thrown in Twitch jail for it, resulting both in their suspensions and embarrassing footage of their recklessness. Please, streamers, look us in the eye and repeat after us: “Literally no one cares about my driving content enough for me to risk dying for it.”
Twitch streamers—hell, influencers of any sort—face enormous pressure to be constantly online. That’s how they build their brand, their fanbase and their cash donations. For some streamers, and especially those streaming under Twitch’s grab-bag “IRL” section, being constantly online means having a video camera pointed at you all day, wherever you go, and interacting with your viewers all the while. If there’s any takeaway from the last couple years so far, it’s that attention is money, and that people who have lots of both attention and money can be fucking dumbasses.
The recent streaming-while-driving instances in question: streamers Mitch Jones and Kailey “Kbubblez” Hankins were at the wheel together in late June when, on a camera held by Jones, Hankins rolls right through a stop sign at a four-way interaction and, shortly after, another. Jones, sitting beside her, is exasperated. “Oh my god,” he says after she blows through a third stop sign with a left-hand turn. “I would rather drive looking at my phone.” She responds: “What do you mean?”
Jones had been suspended from Twitch days prior after himself driving while looking at Twitch chat on his phone. On Twitter, Jones apologized.
Today, Dexerto reported that on July 10, the streamer Bri Teresi—while livestreaming—ate spoonfuls of ice cream from a pint container while steering with her knees. That too resulted in a suspension.
“Our channel got striked on Twitch because I was not being the best driver :/ I’m sorry guys, I won’t be distracted while driving again,” said Teresi on Twitter. “I realize how stupid & reckless it is. @katieteresi & I will be streaming Vidcon from our YouTube channel!”
Streaming while driving has been inciting controversy for years, with Twitch suspending multiple accounts for violating its rule against “self harm.” Twitch’s guidelines clarify that “self harm” includes “Any activity that may endanger your life or lead to your physical harm is prohibited,” and cites “dangerous or distracted driving.”
If the multiple instances where streamers get into car crashes—sometimes while intoxicated—as they completely refuse to pull themselves away from their oh-so compelling drivel chat streams hasn’t convinced anyone to stop doing that, here’s another try: The money or followers you lose from logging off doesn’t hold a candle to how much it costs to defend yourself in court for vehicular manslaughter.