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Snapchat dodges bullet, secures immunity, in distracted driving case, P.1

All of our readers know that distracted driving is a serious problem across the United States. Various studies have highlighted the dangers of cell phone use and the great number of accidents involving distracted driving due to talking or texting while driving.

States have tried to address the problem by increasing public awareness of distracted driving and by passing limitations on cell phone use while driving. It is doubtful that these approaches have had much success. One area that holds more promise for addressing the problem is manufacturers including features that limit drivers’ ability to access their cell phone. 

While there are not currently any requirements that manufacturers include such features, the issue is being broached. As we wrote earlier this month, federal regulators have begun encouraging manufacturers to add safety features to prevent distracted driving. In addition, Apple is currently facing a product liability lawsuit dealing with this issue.  The outcome of the case remains to be seen.

Another case involving the issue of technology and distracted driving, out of Georgia, involves the image messaging and multimedia app Snapchat. The app works by allowing users to upload videos or photos and send them to another user. The videos or photos can only be viewed for one to 10 second, though, before they are gone. One of the features of the app, called the speed filter, allows users to measure their current speed.

Snapchat has been criticized for the feature by those who say it encourages reckless driving. In our next post, we’ll look at the court’s decision in the case and what implications there might be going forward for crash victims in distracted drivers. 

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