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Critics want Snapchat's controversial speed filter withdrawn

Most Louisiana residents have exceeded a posted speed limit at one time or another, but only the most reckless of them would deliberately drive at dangerous speeds on public roads just to impress their friends. High-speed crashes involving motorists who were using smartphones while driving are usually caused by distraction, but at least two law enforcement agencies say that a controversial social media application is encouraging young drivers to behave extremely recklessly.

A major update to the Snapchat messaging application released in 2013 included a new speed filter. This filter adds a miles per hour reading to uploaded video content, and police in Georgia say that a 19-year-old woman was using the feature in September 2015 when her Mercedes sedan struck another vehicle while traveling at more then 100 mph. An Uber driver suffered debilitating injuries in the crash, and the woman was subsequently charged with one felony count and two misdemeanors.

Calls for Snapchat to withdraw its speed filter grew louder when the controversial feature was linked to a Florida motor vehicle accident that claimed the lives of five people on Oct. 26. According to police, a 22-year-old man was posting video on Snapchat with the speed filter activated while driving at speeds of more than 115 mph moments before he smashed head-on into a minivan, killing the driver and two of her children.

The manufacturers of products or the providers of services owe a duty of care too both their customers and the public at large to do all that they reasonably can to protect them from foreseeable dangers. When this duty is not met, personal injury attorneys may pursue civil remedies against them on behalf of those who have been harmed as a result. When companies are made aware of dangers associated with their products or services and do little or nothing to address them, attorneys could claim that they acted with malicious intent.

Source: Fox 13, Tampa, "Video shows car speeding 115 mph before deadly crash", Lloyd Sowers, Oct. 28, 2016

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

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