Another Distraction Behind the Wheel

The No. 1 cause of death among teens—specifically, among 15- to 19-year-olds—is automotive crashes. National Teen Driver Safety Week, established in 2007 by Congress, is meant to call attention to the number of our children involved in car accidents. In 2016, we observe it October 16 through 22.

Everyone knows that teens are famous for using their cell phones behind the wheel. (Let’s be honest: a fair number of adults do the same thing.) But a recent crash and its resulting case brings a new horror to light. Its name is Snapchat.

Are You Familiar with Snapchat?

If you’re of a certain age, you may never have used Snapchat, but it’s wildly popular among teens. Snapchat is an app known for images that last only a few seconds; the length of time is configurable by the person taking the photo or video. The shared images will disappear in short order—at least, that’s what’s intended to happen. You can choose to save photos and videos if you wish. Snapchat can be recognized by its ghost-like icon.

Snapchat can be harmless fun. Unfortunately, Snapchat has something known as the “speed filter” that supposedly encourages people to drive above the limit while taking photos of it. A recent case may give the company behind Snapchat its day in court.

The Horrific Accident

Just outside Atlanta, Georgia, while allegedly traveling at 107 mph, an 18-year-old, along with three of her friends in a Mercedes-Benz, collided with another car in a 55 mph zone. The other driver claims that the teen’s excessive speed caused the accident. The teen in question admits she was trying to drive her car faster than 100 mph so she could record and share it using Snapchat’s speed filter, but she says that the other driver wandered into her lane, triggering the accident.

The other driver ended up in an intensive care unit for five weeks with severe brain trauma, and cannot work or get around without help now, often requiring a wheelchair. His suit alleges that Snapchat knew about similar high-speed crashes that resulted from using the speed filter because it spurs drivers to break the limit. The suit also claims that the company has done nothing about the situation, leaving the filter available for use.

The 18-year-old was injured as well, recording her wounds while strapped on a stretcher with a rather gory “selfie,” posting it online. The caption? “Lucky to be alive.”

Keep Your Teen Safe

Drivers under the age of 25 are two to three times more prone to use their phones to text or email—this, despite the outlawing of cell phone use by young drivers in 32 states plus the District of Columbia. If that isn’t enough, 44 states have laws that specifically prohibit texting by young drivers. Compounding the problem is the fact that young drivers are the least experienced and the ones most likely to handle an emergency driving situation badly. Because of these facts, teen and young adult drivers endanger both themselves and others on the road.

Are you the parent of a young driver? Be sure they are familiar with the “5 to Drive” road rules:

  • Don’t use phones while driving.
  • Don’t speed.
  • Don’t carry extra passengers (a distraction temptation).
  • Don’t use alcohol or drugs.
  • Always wear seat belts.

Finally, be sure your teen knows that “Snapchatting while driving” is never acceptable.

Serving accident victims in Indiana since 1982.

Have you been in an accident caused by another person’s distracted driving, especially if they were using Snapchat or some other social media platform while behind the wheel? At McNeely Stephenson, we have proven experience in helping people hurt in Indiana by vehicular crashes. If your accident was the result of suspected negligence on the part of the other driver, call Mike Stephenson today. Keep in mind that in Indiana there is a statute of limitations – or a deadline – for filing personal injury claims, so it is unwise to delay. Don’t lose the opportunity to obtain the money you need to put your life back on track and to make your family’s future financially secure. Call Mike for a free initial consultation at 1-317-825-5200 or contact us using our online form.