Baltimore Car Accident Lawyers: Dangers of Snapchat and DrivingAugust 1, 2016
Snapchat is just one of the many social media apps that have become so popular in recent years. What makes Snapchat unique is that the content that is sent over the app disappears within seconds after it is opened. Unfortunately, the app also offers a filter that may be contributing to the ongoing distracted driving problem. The filter will superimpose the speed that the user is travelling at onto a picture or video. Many believe that these photos or videos demand more concentration by the user, thus increasing the risk of a distracted driving car accident.
The “speed filter” uses the phone’s camera to recognize the speed at which the vehicle is traveling, and will then superimpose it over the picture. This has raised questions as to whether Snapchat, and specifically the “speed filter,” is causing a new wave of car accidents due to distracted driving. Snapchat has been the target of a number of personal injury lawsuits in the United States and abroad, including the following:
- In December, three people who were believed to be using Snapchat at the time lost their lives in a wreck in Philadelphia when their car crashed into another vehicle.
- Last summer, a Brazilian woman documented her accident over Snapchat, including a speed filter image showing that the car was traveling at 110 miles per hour (mph) at the time of the crash.
- In 2014, a 19-year-old driver from Manchester, U.K. “snapped” that he was traveling at a speed of 142 mph. The next day, he lost his life in a fatal car accident while driving 80 mph.
- In September of 2015, an 18-year-old Georgia resident allegedly hit another vehicle while using Snapchat. Officials believe that she was driving 113 mph intentionally so that she had an impressive speed to post on Snapchat. Even after the crash, she posted a selfie from the ambulance with a caption that read, “Lucky to be alive.”
While there have been a growing number of lawsuits against Snapchat, the issue of liability depends on whether Snapchat has an obligation to predict that the speed filter would encourage drivers to exceed the posted speed limits. According to the Maryland Court of Appeals, there is no duty to control the actions of a third party in an effort to prevent harm, unless there is a “special relationship” between the actor and the injured party. In other words, from a legal perspective, it is unlikely that Snapchat will be held liable when it comes to the negligent behavior of drivers. Snapchat has also updated the app to include a warning that reminds users not to snap while driving. Change.org posted a petition calling for Snapchat to remove the speed filter from the app entirely.
Baltimore Car Accident Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Represent Victims Injured in Distracted Driving Accidents
If you have been injured in a car accident involving another driver who was traveling at excessive speed or was driving distracted, contact our Baltimore car accident lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton at your earliest convenience. Our skilled and dedicated team is on your side and will work tirelessly to hold the negligent parties accountable for their actions. We will not stop until we obtain the maximum financial compensation for your injuries. For a free consultation, call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.
Our offices are located in Baltimore, Columbia, Glen Burnie, and Towson, allowing us to represent injured accident victims and their families throughout Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Southern Maryland and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, Rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Parkville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point Ridgewood, and Elkridge.