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Distracted Driving Kills Two More Teens

December 27, 2016, Kitchener, Ontario

Posted by: Robert Deutschmann, Personal Injury Lawyer

Another tragic case made the news this month as two teens died in a head-on collision while driving distracted. Th18 year old female driver was live broadcasting on Facebook Live as she drove down a Pennsylvania highway. Moments before the crash, her 19-year-old passenger can be heard asking, “are you going live?”. Lights then flash in the car, there is a sound of screeching tires. The live filming keeps going for 7 minutes showing a black screen, and then a man appears and is heard speaking before the video ended. Both teens died in the accident as they were hit by a tractor trailer. The video was watched over 7000 times before it was taken down, but it will be used in the police investigation of the accident.

This accident is not unique. Other fatal crashes have been live streamed on Facebook. One in North Carolina resulted in a 32-year-old woman who was hit head on by a truck as she taped herself sing along to a song. Snapchat, another live streaming and photo sharing social media platform, was sued in April of this year after a teen using their ‘speed filter’ caused a high-speed crash. In that instance a man who suffered permanent brain damage after being hit by another driver is suing Snapchat. He alleges the other driver was using the platform’s speed tracker, and intends to use the Snapchat data to prove that the other driver was speeding.

The driver was distracted by her phone, and records show that the car was travelling at approximately 172 kilometres per hour. Snapchat uses GPS data to show users how fast they are travelling while taking a video on the app. The app awards ‘trophies’ for achieving certain speeds. The lawsuit filed alleges that Snapchat is partially at fault in the crash as there had been ample evidence of other crashes while drivers used the speed filter. The lawsuit alleges that:

“Despite Snapchat’s actual knowledge of the danger from using its product’s speed filter while driving at excessive speeds, Snapchat did not remove or restrict access to the speed filter.”

Snap chat counters that their TOU explicitly state that their services are not to be used in a way that would distract you from obeying traffic or safety laws, and “never put yourself of others in harm’s way just to capture a snap.”. The filter in the app also states “don’t snap and drive”.

In the end we must take a hard look at the target audience of these apps, and the likelihood that they will be used for their intended use (measuring speed) regardless of the context. Sadly, drivers who are incapable of putting down their phones, who are addicted to using them all the time, are likely to use them for the designed use.

This once again brings up the subject of using technology to disable hand held phone use in cars that are moving. This would stop distracted driving involving smart phones.

 

 

Posted under Car Accidents, Catastrophic Injury, Personal Injury

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About Deutschmann Law

Deutschmann Law serves South-Western Ontario with offices in Kitchener-Waterloo, Cambridge, Woodstock, Brantford, Stratford and Ayr. The law practice of Robert Deutschmann focuses almost exclusively in personal injury and disability insurance matters. For more information, please visit www.deutschmannlaw.com or call us toll-free at 1-866-414-4878.

The opinions expressed here, while intended to provide useful information, should not be interpreted as legal recommendations or advice.

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