Law enforcement agencies and road safety advocates in Minnesota and around the country are becoming increasingly concerned about a popular social media platform that they say is placing road users at risk. The messaging application Snapchat has become wildly popular among young people because it allows them to enhance the photographs and videos they upload by applying filters, but police in Florida say that one of these filters contributed to an Oct. 26 motor vehicle accident that left five people dead.
When images are captured or videos recorded while in motion, the Snapchat speed filter adds a miles per hour figure to the uploaded content. Video released by the Tampa Police Department shows a 22-year-old man deliberately increasing his speed to 115.6 mph just moments before striking a minivan driven by a 39-year-old woman head-on. Both drivers were killed in the crash along with a 19-year-old woman, a 10-year-old girl and a 9-year-old boy.
Police across the country have been concerned about the controversial filter for some time. A 19-year-old Georgia woman is facing a felony charge in connection with a September 2015 car accident that severely injured an Uber driver. The man was merging into traffic when his vehicle was struck by a Mercedes sedan traveling at over 100 mph. Police later discovered that the woman responsible had been uploading video to Snapchat while using the speed filter just seconds before the crash.
The law requires both individuals and companies to take all reasonable precautions to protect others from foreseeable harm, and personal injury attorneys may pursue civil remedies on behalf of those who are harmed as a result of this duty not being met. Damages in negligence cases generally compensate accident victims for their property damage, medical bills and lost income, but attorneys may also seek punitive damages when the defendant's failure to address known dangers could be viewed as a malicious intent to cause injury.
Source: Fox 13 Tampa, "Video shows car speeding 115 mph before deadly crash", Lloyd Sowers, Oct. 28, 2016
Source: WSB-TV Atlanta, "Teen faces felony charge after alleged Snapchat 'speed filter' crash", Jodie Fleischer, June 1, 2016