Are Paparazzi-Induced Car Accidents a Problem?

Feuds between celebrities and paparazzi, or freelance photographers, in the streets of Los Angeles have become unfortunately common. Usually they involve minor scuffles and shouting incidents, but at other times they turn serious.

Some lead to car crashes and injured passengers. What can be done about these incidents?

Bieber’s run-in with LA paparazzi

For the past 17 years, the world has viewed the death of Princess Diana as a life taken too early and without reason. While there are differing opinions on the exact cause of the crash, the presence of aggressive paparazzi was at least partially to blame for the collision that killed multiple victims.

Whether you agree with his analogy or not, Justin Bieber caused a buzz of headlines after his recent accident. On Twitter, the famous pop singer and teen idol wrote, “There should be laws against what I just experienced. We should have learned from the death of Princess Diana.”

Bieber was talking about an accident involving his Ferrari and a photographer on his tail in West Hollywood, California. According to reports, Bieber was frustrated with a person aggressively seeking to take his picture and slammed on his brakes in the middle of traffic, which gave the trailing photographer little opportunity to stop.

There were no reported injuries, but Bieber has not chosen to remain mute about the event. In fact, this isn’t the first time Bieber has taken up the cause of putting an end to paparazzi chases.

In a statement quoted to the LA Times last year after a paparazzo was killed attempting to take a picture of his white Ferrari, Bieber stated that he hoped the tragedy would inspire legislation and whatever else necessary to protect everyone — celebrities, innocent bystanders, and photographers alike.

Selena Gomez’s fender bender

By coincidence, Bieber’s former romantic interest Selena Gomez recently found herself in a similar situation. According to, Gomez was involved in car accident in early August, and later implied it was the fault of paparazzi.

Reports say she is blaming distracting photo-taking for her accident and tweeted “Only I’d get into an accident because of men with cameras who have great careers and offer the couple a package at Burke Williams. Oh LA.”

And the list goes on.

Anyone interested in learning about other paparazzi-induced car accidents doesn’t have to search very far. In the last few years, stars such as Chris Brown, Tori Spelling, and others have had run-ins of their own.

Each tells a similar story and raises the question: Are these accidents becoming a serious problem? Michael Ehline of Ehline Law Firm PC believes auto accidents of any kind are dangerous and potentially lethal.

“Hundreds of Angelenos are killed in traffic and pedestrian accidents each year,” he said. Not only are fatal accidents an issue, but in the eyes of Ehline, any collision can produce negative and long-lasting side effects.

“Injuries can keep you out of work, away from loved ones, and in a fragile emotional state that is more important than any settlement.”

In Ehline’s opinion, it’s less about the paparazzi and more about irresponsible and aggressive driving trends on today’s roads. While there have been reports of paparazzi-induced accidents, far more incidents involve aggressive drivers commuting to work, traveling out of town, or hurriedly running errands.

It’s not just about getting the next magazine cover shot; sometimes it’s about getting a gallon of milk at the grocery store.

The car accident epidemic

Whether they involve a celebrity or not, car accidents are a serious problem in the U.S. In 2013 alone, 35,244 fatal crashes occurred on this nation’s roadways. That number has increased over the past two years, and unless everyone gets a self-guided vehicle anytime soon, the signs indicate it will only continue to do so.