If you’re over a certain age, you may never have used Snapchat or even know what it is. Snapchat is an app that’s known for its ultra-short-lived images. With Snapchat, you can take photos and videos and share them with a group of friends, secure in the knowledge that the images will be destroyed after only seconds (the actual number of seconds is chosen by the user). Teens, and those who prefer the privacy aspects of quickly-vanishing photos (unlike on Facebook and Instagram, where images are basically permanent), are drawn like a moth to a flame. The “ghost” icon you may have seen online represents Snapchat.
But the app can be dangerous when combined with driving or other activities. And Snapchat may well have its reluctant day in court because of a recently-brought suit.
A police report states that an 18-year-old driver was going over 100 mph in a Mercedes-Benz with three of her friends just outside of Atlanta, Georgia, when her car and another collided. The driver of the other car claims that the teen and her excessive speed caused the accident, which left him with severe traumatic brain injury that required five weeks in an intensive care unit. He now cannot work and needs either a walker or a wheelchair to move around.
The teen in question admits that she was trying to make her car travel more than 100 mph so that she could take a picture using Snapchat’s “speed filter” feature. At the time of the accident, it is alleged that her Mercedes was travelling at 107 mph. (The speed limit was 55 mph.) However, the teen and her friends claim that the other driver drifted into their lane, causing the accident. The 18-year-old was injured by the accident and took a gruesome “selfie” (picture of herself) afterwards with the caption, “Lucky to be alive.”
Snapchat lets people share how fast they are driving while they take selfies by employing the company’s “speed filter.” The suit alleges that Snapchat was aware of other high-speed crashes resulting from the use of the filter, which allegedly incites drivers to speed. The suit also claims that the company did nothing about the crashes and their relationship to the speed filter, but instead has left the filter in place.
The Leading Cause of Death Among Teens
Did you know that vehicular crashes are the No. 1 cause of death among 15-to-19-year-olds? It’s because of this alarming statistic that National Teen Driver Safety Week was established by Congress in 2007. In 2016, it is observed October 16 through 22.
Even though 32 states along with the District of Columbia have outlawed cell phone usage by young drivers, and even though 44 states have passed laws forbidding texting by young drivers, drivers who are under 25 remain two to three times more likely to text or email when behind the wheel.
These drivers not only endanger themselves, they put others at risk. If you are the parent of a teenager, make sure they know the “5 to Drive” recommended road rules:
- No cell phone usage.
- No speeding.
- No extra passengers.
- No alcohol or drugs.
- Seat belts on always.
And, please—tell them no Snapchatting while behind the wheel.
Listening hard. Working harder.
Have you been in an accident involving Snapchat or another social media platform that resulted in injury caused by the distracted driving of the other party? The South Carolina vehicular accident lawyers at the Louthian Law Firm have represented injured South Carolinians in personal injury suits since 1959. With our firm on the case, you can rest assured that you’ll get the personalized attention you deserve. If you or a loved one has been seriously injured or killed in a car or truck accident in which the other party was at fault, South Carolina law entitles you to hold that party legally responsible for your medical expenses and vehicle repair bills, as well as any lost wages and other financial losses. You may also seek compensation for pain and suffering or loss of comfort, care and companionship of a loved one. The deadline for filing a claim is already running, so contact the Louthian Law Firm for help by calling us at 1-803-454-1200. If you prefer, you can fill out our online contact form.