If you are between the ages of 13 and 34, odds are you are familiar with the social media application Snapchat. Snapchat, a messaging app which allows users to send pictures and videos to friends that disappear or vanish in 10 seconds or less (depending on the sender's setting) is especially popular with teens and young adults. According to the app's website, there are over 8 billion video views a day.
Aside from simply sending photos and videos, users can add various "filters" to their content. For instance, "geofilters" overlay the picture/video with information about when the picture was taken such as location, temperature, and time. One geofilter that has garnered national attention recently is the "speed filter", which shows the speed in miles per hour that the person was traveling at the time they took the picture or video.
This feature has resulted in Snapchat users around the country taking videos and selfies of themselves driving at dangerously high speeds and sending them to friends. A google image search of "Snapchat Speed Filter" reveals dozens of users uploading pictures of themselves driving at speeds upwards of 100 miles per hour while using the app. As a result, the obvious potential for catastrophic accidents with users driving at unconscionable speeds while distracted is high.
Last week, a Georgia resident sued Snapchat and a young woman for a car accident that left him with a serious brain injury, when his car was hit by the woman's while traveling at 107 mph and using the Snapchat speed filter. A passenger in the woman's car stated that prior to the crash, the vehicle reached speeds of up to 113 mph while the woman was using the app.
The full complaint (which can be viewed here) alleges that Snapchat has been aware of previous accidents caused by users accessing the speed filter feature, but have refused to remove it. While the app flashes a warning that the speed filter should not be used while driving, it is clear that it has not deterred users from doing so.
Aside from just the speed filter, the app has another distinction that makes users who access it while driving at a greater risk to cause injuries to themselves and others. While all distracted driving is dangerous and can cause serious and debilitating injuries, drivers who glance at their phone to check a text or e-mail know that the information will be there for them later. With Snapchat, however, the pictures and videos users receive cannot be saved to their phone. Rather, they disappear forever within 10 seconds or less of being opened. Therefore, there is the potential for someone who checks their Snapchat while driving to be even more distracted, knowing that the information will be gone seconds after they open it.
The bottom line is, no text, e-mail, or "Snap" is worth causing life altering injuries to yourself or others. If the email, text, picture or video really can't wait, pull over and stop the vehicle.
If you or your loved one has been injured in a motor vehicle accident in Michigan as a result of a distracted driver, contact the Metro Detroit Injury Lawyers today for your free consultation and evaluation of your car accident case.