Snapchat is becoming increasingly popular among Oklahoma residents. The social media app has a number of different filters that users can apply, and one filter in particular is starting to appear frequently as a cause of motor vehicle crashes.
The speed filter tells users how fast they are traveling while it is being used. Unfortunately, it has led some drivers to drive at dangerous speeds so that they can post it on Snapchat. In a case in Florida, a 10-second Snapchat video showed a 22-year-old driver accelerating up to 115.6 miles per hour before the man lost control of his vehicle and entered the lanes of traffic going the opposite direction. He collided head-on with a minivan, killing himself, his 19-year-old passenger and a mother and two children in the van.
Safety experts worry that the speed filter is not only distracting but that it actively encourages drivers to drive recklessly. Snapchat argues that it has a warning that appears on the screen as soon as people open the speed filter telling them not to drive while using it. Safety experts say that the warning is not enough and believe that Snapchat should remove the filter.
People who are seriously injured in car accidents that are caused by drivers who are using social media apps while they are behind the wheel may have the legal grounds to file negligence lawsuits. Drivers owe duties of care to the people who are traveling near them. Engaging in distracting activities and driving recklessly both violate the duties that the drivers owe. When a breach of the duties owed to others who are on the road is violated, the driver may be held to be financially responsible if people are injured or killed as a result.