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Is Snapchat causing car accidents?

You have likely seen friends and family post selfies featuring the ever-popular dog filer from Snapchat. Maybe you yourself have even used it or use Snapchat’s other fun features. The app, released in 2011, has become both enormously popular and occasionally controversial. Perhaps the most serious controversy yet is the suggestion that it may be partially responsible for some car accidents. According to the Washington Post, Snapchat has been cited in several lawsuits following serious and even fatal car accidents. There are a few reasons why Snapchat may indeed pose a risk to drivers—if you suspect the app was at play in an accident you have been in, consider the following facts.

Used by teens

Snapchat is used primarily by teens and young adults. Many high schoolers use it to communicate with friends and send photos. Unfortunately, though, this demographic is already at an increased risk of getting into accidents. Young drivers are typically less experienced and more reckless on the road than their older counterparts, so adding a distraction such as Snapchat to the mix can easily make for a deadly collision.

Speed filter

Yet another factor making Snapchat exceptionally dangerous is its inclusion of a filter that detects the speed of the user. The filter creates an image overlaid with text indicating the speed at the time of capture. Needless to say, many have seen this as an opportunity to boast of excessive velocity. Some of the aforementioned lawsuits have involved drivers using this filter and traveling at more than 100 MPH.

Insufficient warning

Snapchat has mentioned multiple times that the app includes a warning against use while driving. It is triggered when the user exceeds 15 MPH or when the user opens the speed filter. Users can easily dismiss and disregard this warning, though, and continue using the app recklessly. It is debatable whether the warning precludes Snapchat from liability in car accidents which involved the app.

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