A few days ago, I heard someone joke about streaking while driving. What in the world, I thought. Were they driving while naked?

It turns out that they were talking about Snapchat streaks… apparently, if you send a snap to a friend on Snapchat at least once a day, you get a little flame icon that says how many days your “streak” has lasted. You also get special emojis as a reward for longer streaks that continue for 100 days or more.

You would think it is common sense to not use Snapchat or any social media site while driving, but it has become an increasingly common source of distracted driving and auto accidents around the country.

Distracted Driving Deaths

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), distracted driving was responsible for 3477 deaths in the United States in 2015. Distracted driving is when you do anything that takes your attention away from the road while driving even if it is only for a few seconds.

For example, NHTSA points out that it only takes an average of five seconds to read or send a text message. “But, in that span of time, with your eyes on your phone and not on the road, a vehicle traveling 55 miles per hour can travel the length of a football field. In that instant, over that distance, a life can be taken—maybe even yours.”

Common types of distracted driving that can result in car crashes include:

  • Texting, emailing, or making phone calls.
  • Use of social media like Facebook, Snapchat, or Twitter.
  • Attempting to control children or pets in the passenger or back seats.
  • Fiddling with the vehicle’s electronics like the radio, A/C, or GPS.
  • Putting on make-up.
  • Eating, drinking, or smoking while driving.

The list could go on. Basically, anything that takes your attention away from the road, even for a few moments, causes distracted driving and can result in a car crash and tragedy.

Does Snapchat Encourage Distracted Driving?

Snapchat has been under fire for the last few years over their “speed filter” that allows users to record their speed and post it to the app with a photo.

A Georgia teenager was allegedly using Snapchat’s speed filter as she drove at speeds up to 113 miles per hour before crashing into an Uber driver. The teen continued to post selfies of herself, bleeding on a stretcher, as she was transported by EMS. The Uber driver suffered a traumatic brain injury and was hospitalized.

A young woman in Philadelphia posted a Snapchat showing herself and two friends at a bar and then at a house party. Her final Snapchat was from her car showing how fast they were driving just before she crashed into a parked truck full of herbicide. The truck burst into flames and it is likely that the girls were burned alive.

“A witness on the scene said he could hear people screaming from inside the car, but he couldn’t get to the vehicle due to the flames,” Philadelphia Police Capt. Anthony Ginaldi told Action News.

Inside that car were the driver, Amonie Barton, and her friends, Gia Scavo Abgarian and Candice Walker. All in their early 20s, and all possibly burned alive.

A young man in Florida posted a video to Snapchat that showed he was traveling as fast as 115 miles per hour just before he crossed the center line and hit a minivan head-on. The driver, his passenger, and a mother and her two daughters in the minivan were all killed.

Snapchat videos posted by a young woman in Pittsburgh showed her and her friends drinking vodka in the car before it crashed into a utility pole killing three young people in the car and injuring a fourth.

How many deaths will it take before Snapchat rethinks their “speed filter?”

Was Your Car Wreck Caused by a Distracted Driver?

If you were involved in a car wreck where the other driver was texting, making a phone call, fiddling with electronics, or posting to social media while driving, the other driver was most likely at fault.

Coastal Law, LLC’s personal injury lawyers can help you to determine whether you have a claim and who is liable in the Myrtle Beach, Conway, Columbia, and Charleston, S.C. areas. Schedule a free consultation to discuss the facts of your case by calling (843) 488-5000 or filling out our online form.

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