If you use Snapchat you may be familiar with one of its more popular filters that indicates your speed at the time you snap a photo. And for those of you who don’t use the app, once you take a picture you can add a filter to it, one which will post the m.p.h. you were moving at the time of the shot. You have to be moving for it to work, so one can imagine that this filter is pretty popular in indicating how fast a person is going at the time of the snap. It’s the perfect storm for a car crash, and that is exactly what some say happened in an auto crash near Atlanta, Georgia.
According to a lawsuit that was recently filed against Snapchat, the app was the alleged cause of a serious car crash. A teen driver was allegedly using Snapchat’s speed filter boasting of how fast she was driving at the time of the crash. The lawsuit claims she was driving in excess of 100 m.p.h. in a 55 m.p.h. zone. After the crash the teen posted a photo from the ambulance of her bloody and in a neck brace. She captioned it, “Lucky to be alive.” The driver of the car she hit suffered severe traumatic brain injuries and spent five weeks in the ICU. He’s now trying to hold the teen and Snapchat responsible.
Furthermore, this isn’t the first time that this filter may have contributed to a horrible auto incident. There was a deadly crash in December of 2015 where the filter may have contributed to the deaths of three Philadelphia women, according to CBS News. Sadly, this isn’t surprising. This type of filter is an apparent recommendation to users to speed and to drive distracted.
We reached out to our partners at Drive Smart Colorado to see what they had to say about this incident. Executive Director, Maile Gray, had this to say:
This is an incredibly tragic story, and not all that surprising to us. What is surprising is that some “adults” sitting around a brainstorming room in the offices of Snapchat actually thought this was somehow a good idea without thinking through the consequences of what can happen when you put something like this on their app, and put it into the hands of young people who already don’t think through consequences. It’s not only young people who are easily distracted while driving for sure, but Snapchat does appeal to a younger demographic, and they know it. We don’t need to put more ideas (or applications) into the heads and hands of people, when all they should be doing is concentrating on driving, focusing on the road. PUT DOWN THE PHONE!
Unfortunately, no one seems to be thinking about the consequences, not Snapchat, nor the drivers using the app. From a legal standpoint it makes sense that Snapchat should be held accountable. They have put a dangerous product out on the market without any warnings of its harmful effects. Many will see these incidents being a result of the driver’s choice. But clearly Snapchat invented something to be used while driving, and using your phone while driving is obviously dangerous.
And let’s not even get into how bad of an idea it is for drivers to capture the inappropriate habits they have while driving. Posting, tweeting, or snapping what you are doing while you are driving just proves that you were driving while distracted. When a person does this they have just admitted that they were driving distracted. If you are lucky, and nothing happens, the worst that could happen to you is you get a ticket. However, if you’re the unlucky one, you’re going to end up seriously injuring or killing someone. You’ll have a criminal trial, and the prosecutor is going to have your social media posts to prove their case. Please, everyone, don’t use this filter while driving. In fact, don’t use your phone at all.