New social media apps attract and distract teen drivers
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has found that teen drivers use electronic devices behind the wheel far more than drivers in other age groups. This is not surprising, as today’s teens are the first generation to grow up around mobile devices. The NHTSA has also found that teen drivers and drivers in their 20s make up a disproportionate share of fatal accidents caused by distraction.
The use of Facebook Live could be claiming lives on American highways
Some new social media apps are creating additional distractions for teens and drivers of all ages. One such app is Facebook Live, which allows users to broadcast live video via their phone, mobile device or computer.
In December, two teens in Pennsylvania were killed literally seconds after beginning a Facebook Live stream. According to reports, an 18-year-old motorist began broadcasting on Facebook Live while driving. Shortly after beginning the broadcast, a tractor-trailer rear-ended the car, killing the driver and her 19-year-old passenger. In this specific case, it is likely that the driver of the tractor-trailer caused this fatal accident. Despite this, the risks involved in recording oneself while driving should be clear to all.
Snapchat’s speed filter may have contributed to fatal car accidents involving younger drivers
Snapchat, an app that allows users to send videos and pictures, is extremely popular among teens. One optional Snapchat feature, known as the speed filter, allows users to take video of how fast they are going. While Snapchat warns users not to “snap and drive,” the speed filter would seem to encourage people to drive at reckless speeds.
Unsurprisingly, there have been multiple accidents involving drivers using the Snapchat speed filter. In November, a Florida mother and two children were killed by a 22-year-old driver who had just uploaded a Snapchat video of his vehicle accelerating from 83 mph to 116 mph. The driver and his passenger, a 19-year-old woman, were also killed. In another case in 2016, an 18-year-old woman uploaded video of her driving at 113 mph. Minutes later, she caused an accident in which the other driver sustained traumatic brain injuries.
Facebook Live could be useful after an accident
Using social media while driving is never a good idea. With that said, Facebook Live could be helpful in the aftermath of a motor vehicle accident. Facebook Live could document injuries, the accident scene, the condition of the vehicles, and other important evidence. This evidence could be critical in developing a strong claim for damages.
One of the most important steps you can take after an accident is to hire an experienced personal injury lawyer. I am attorney Steve Crell. For decades, I have represented accident victims across Indiana in all types of accident claims, including accidents caused by distracted drivers. Time and again, my skill and tenacity have made a difference for the people I serve.
Sources: Distraction.Gov, Facts and Statistics, Teen driver dies in crash while live on Facebook, USA Today, December 8, 2016, Is the Snapchat speed filter encouraging reckless driving?, CBSnews.com, November 1, 2016