Distracted driving has had many distinct iterations in recent history.
Before phones, people were distracted by anything and everything (and still are, of course – that hasn’t changed).
Perhaps you know someone or are the type of person who tries to eat while driving, talk to a passenger, or is messing around with a paper map to find your destination. We’re not saying this is necessarily a bad thing, only that these all count as distractions while driving that can split your focus from the road.
Then, there was the invention of the car phone. This eventually evolved into an independent cellular device that could be taken anywhere. As such, drivers added an additional level of distraction while driving – incoming calls and the desire to dial our friends and family on a whim.
Then, texting starting become in vogue, and people have tested the limits of being able to focus not only their attention but also shift their field of vision from the road to screen, for many seconds in a row.
While many people can successfully multi-task without an issue, most have close calls or worse – get in accidents that cause heavy injury or death. No one is immune, not even the most accomplished texter, regardless of your track record.
A new era in mobile distractions is upon America’s drivers – Snapchat.
If you’re not acquainted with this fast-growing social network, here’s the gist of how it works:
Users send specific friends photos that expire after a set amount of time of viewing (up to 10 seconds). There’s also the option to add photos to their “Story” for friends and followers to view, for up to 24 hours. After that, they expire.
In both cases, a person’s attention is on recording a photo or video, then selecting who will be able to see it – a process that can take several seconds or more.
Like texting, “snapping” a photo or video to an individual friend or all followers on a story requires multiple steps, thus successfully stealing attention from the road.
It gets even more complicated and concerning when you consider the fact that users can add additional customization to their pictures with different filters, draw on pictures with a pen-like feature, and add text that can be manipulated by size and color. The possibilities are endless and incredibly distracting to think about (and execute).
Although Snapchat is relatively new to mobile devices, it’s already been making headlines for distracted driving accidents that have lead to people involved dying.
In December of last year, 3 young Philadelphia women were involved in a fiery accident that would claim their lives. New evidence points to the popular app Snapchat as being the reason why they were distracted. One of the app’s popular features is the ability to “snap” a picture using a filter with your current speed.
Although you could foreseeably use this feature to share activities like walking your dog or documenting a roller coaster ride, it’s much more likely you’d use it while in a car. It begs the question – does this feature actually serve to encourage distracting driving?
Let’s look at some other examples of this speed filter in use.
In some cases, Snapchat users employ the feature for bragging rights when they’re pushing the limits on speed. There’s evidence that the Philadelphia women who died had been using this feature prior to their deadly crash.
In another heartbreaking case of distracted driving, while using Snapchat, this filter temptation was tested and the result was a critically injured driver and innocent victim in another car. Teenager Christal McGee was using the speed filter when this accident occurred.
There’s a pattern here, and it’s that Snapchat not only causes distracted driving but in a way, acts to encourage it. It poses an additional level of danger over pulls on attention from distracted driving’s colorful relationship to mobile devices.
So what can you do as a safe driver to protect yourself from others who may not practice as much care?
In cases like these, the best defense is a great offense. Read our article about defensive driving and it’s possible that these tips will help you to be able to avoid awful accidents like these.
But if you get involved in a car accident with a distracted driver, you definitely have options to seek justice and damages.
Were you in a car accident with a distracted driver who was using Snapchat? Attorney Big Al can help you seek justice for what happened. Visit us online at Hurt123.com, or call 1-800-HURT-123 for a free consultation.
We are here to fight for you and give you the compensation you deserve. Reach Barzakay Law Firm.