For those unaware of the story, Snapchat was recently sued for their speed filter option on their app. Plaintiffs in the lawsuit alleged that Snapchat’s filter promoted unsafe driving practices.
While the argument seemed legitimate, Snapchat was able to have the case against them dismissed in a recent court motion, according to ABC News.
A Few Things to Know About Snapchat
Since it first came on the market, Snapchat has been a rather controversial app.
It is the app that kids love, but parents loathe. This mobile app allows users to take videos and pictures and send them to friends, but they self-destruct in a few seconds. The user can decide how long the message is live, which is usually one to 10 seconds.
Snapchat will not save messages, but screen captures can. What is interesting is that the app automatically detects screen capture and will notify the person.
Recently Snapchat came out with their speed filter. The filter has already been blamed for several motor vehicle accidents, including deaths. The filter seems almost as if the company is inviting a lawsuit because it lets users take selfies and the filter detects how fast they were going at the time. The speed is then posted on the selfie.
How Snapchat Got their Lawsuit Dismissed
In this trial, Snapchat’s app was used during the time of the accident. The young woman responsible was deliberately speeding to get a high mile-per-hour post on her Snapchat speed filter.
Snapchat states that they have warned users about snapping while driving, but the plaintiffs in the suit felt that the app maker should be liable for making an irresponsible filter in the first place. After all, this was not the first incidence where a devastating motor vehicle accident occurred because of their filter.
Unfortunately, Snapchat’s motion to dismiss was lucky. They were found to be immune using a 20-year-old law from the Communications Decency Act. The Act was designed to protect young children from receiving pornographic photos, but the Act prohibited indecent content from being taken or shared.
Online service providers are provided immunity for the content posted by their service under the Act. Therefore, any internet service provider, including web hosting companies, are not liable for the content that a user posts.
Snapchat used this argument as the basis for their motion. They stated that they did not publish the user’s content; therefore, they were immune from liability.
Snapchat’s Off the Hook, but What About the Driver?
Snapchat escaped a formal lawsuit this time around, but they are not immune from lawsuits in the future. Also, the plaintiffs are appealing the decision; therefore, a higher court may ignore Snapchat’s argument.
However, the most important item a Mesa personal injury attorney would point out is that the actions of the defendant (the driver) were not only reckless but deliberate. The defendant posted a picture of themselves recklessly driving, and they were violating various laws.
If they were in the state of Arizona, they would be cited for reckless driving, endangerment, and more. The civil case would be very strong against someone like this, especially when they post evidence of their negligence online for the world to see.
Snapchat Incidents in Arizona
While there have not been any devastating accidents in Arizona yet, Mesa personal injury attorneys are preparing for these forms of distracted driving cases to come.
Snapchat is a highly addictive app for teens. Most users are glued to their phones to capture what another user is doing, and then they respond as quickly as possible to share their message. Knowing messages will disappear makes users more apt to stay looking at their phone, even if they are driving.
This means that a user’s attention is directed to the smartphone and messages instead of the road.
In 2015, motor vehicle crashes took the lives of 895 residents of Arizona, according to Arizona Department of Transportation. 300 of those were involved in crashes where the driver was speeding or driving too fast, which was a 25.5 percent increase from the year before.
In the state’s Strategic Highway Safety Plan, they highlight that victims of distracted driving accidents account for 15 percent of the state’s total fatalities, and 21 percent of the total serious injuries.
The highest age group of distracted driving goes from 15 to 24, while the least likely to engage in distracted driving is those over the age of 75.
While most of the distracted driving accidents in Arizona are single vehicle crashes, there is also a vast majority that are rear-ended collisions, angle hits and left turn errors.
Those that cause an accident due to distracted driving are just as liable as someone who was drugged driving or drunken driving. It is gross negligence, and those who produce these types of accidents could not only face criminal charges but civil penalties as well.
Injured by a Distracted Driver? Contact a Mesa Personal Injury Attorney Now
If you were injured in an accident caused by a distracted driver, contact a Mesa personal injury attorney to explore your options. An attorney can assess what distractions the driver was engaging in, including mobile apps, and ensure you receive compensation for your injuries.
Contact a Mesa personal injury advocate from Tobler Law today at 480-898-9700 or request more information online.