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Snapchat speed filter linked to accident that claimed 5 lives

Road users in New York and across the country may be being placed in danger by a controversial social media application that law enforcement agencies and road safety advocates claim is encouraging younger motorists to drive dangerously fast. Snapchat is one of the most popular messaging applications on both the Android and iOS mobile platforms, and its appeal is based largely on innovative filters that allow users to add effects and notations to uploaded images and video footage. The filter at the center of the controversy adds a miles per hour figure to images captured or footage recorded while the uploader is in motion.

The company introduced its controversial speed filter as part of a major update in June 2013. In September 2015, an Atlanta Uber driver suffered severe brain injuries when his vehicle was struck at high speed by a Mercedes sedan driven by a 19-year-old woman. The woman was later charged with a felony after police discovered that she had been deliberately increasing her speed prior to the crash in order to upload video showing that she was traveling at more then 100 mph.

An even more serious car accident has now been linked to the Snapchat speed filter. Police in Florida say that a 22-year-old man was using the filter and traveling at speeds in excess of 115 mph when his car struck a minivan head-on in Tampa on Oct. 26, 2016. The crash claimed the lives of five people including two young children and their 39-year-old mother.

Companies are expected to do all that they reasonably can to protect members of the public from foreseeable dangers associated with their products or services. When this duty is not met, personal injury attorneys may file lawsuits on behalf of those who have been harmed as a result. In addiction to compensation for medical expenses, lost income and property damage, attorneys could seek punitive damages in situations where companies willfully ignored known dangers and placed profits over public safety.

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

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