Video footage posted on the social media platform Snapchat has led to a raft of criminal charges for a 19-year-old Georgia woman. The popular application introduced a speed filter in 2013 that automatically adds a miles per hour figure to video and image files to show how fast people were traveling at the time they were taken, and the woman was using this feature and posting video to Snapchat just moments before her Mercedes sedan struck an SUV while traveling at more than 100 mph.
Many young people are devoted to their social media followings, and the woman concerned continued to post images and videos to Snapchat even after seriously injuring an Uber driver on an Atlanta area highway. Her passengers also told police that they had begged her to stop posting and slow down prior to the crash. When road safety advocates demanded that Snapchat remove the controversial filter, the software developer responded by pointing to a warning about the dangers of using the application while behind the wheel.
The furor over the Snapchat speed filter was reignited following a fatal accident in Florida on Oct. 26. A mother and her two children were killed when the minivan they were traveling in was struck head-on by a speeding car in Tampa. Police recovered a cellphone from the 22-year-old man responsible, and video footage recorded using the speed filter showed that he was traveling in excess of 115 mph before striking the woman’s vehicle. The man also lost his life in the car crash.
When reckless motorists face criminal charges, the accident reports and witness statements compiled by law enforcement may be used by personal injury attorneys to establish liability in lawsuits filed against them. Attorneys could also bring litigation against companies in situations where known dangers associated with their products or services were not adequately addressed and contributed to the harm suffered by their clients.
Source: The N.Y. Daily News, “Georgia teen sued over Snapchat use in high-speed car crash now facing criminal charges”, Tobias Salinger, June 1, 2016