According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), distracted driving causes the deaths of eight people and injures 1,161 more victims every day. While distracted driving comes in many forms, cell phone use has become the most predominant in recent years.
Aside from text messages and phone calls, certain apps have made the news for their potential risks when used on the road. Three of the most recent issues come from the Waze navigation app, the Snapchat social app, and the Pokémon GO game app.
What makes Waze so dangerous?
At face value, Waze seems like a huge benefit to drivers. The app gives real-time traffic information and updates on construction, road hazards, and accidents. The first major concern with Waze is that it can be a direct distraction. The app encourages users to post “updates” about their trip and allows them to add information about hazards while driving.
Another issue with Waze is that it allows the identification of speed traps, hidden police, and speeding or red light cameras. Some officials fear drivers are using this information to protect themselves from speeding laws by knowing where to slow down because users reported speed enforcement is nearby.
Is it illegal to use Waze while driving?
Because Waze is a navigation app, it is not illegal to use it while driving to provide navigation. However, Colorado’s 2009 distracted driving law made it illegal to drive “while using a cell phone to text-message or send similar forms of transmission, while behind the wheel.”
Essentially, it is illegal to post updates on your route, use the app’s chat feature with other users, or any other actions that involve manipulating the screen while you drive. For Waze, the safest option is to pre-program your destination and pull over to re-route rather than trying to alter your route while driving.
What makes Snapchat so dangerous?
Snapchat has created a generation of users eager to share information and tell their stories. The app has various filters to put silly faces on your selfie, but one filter has caused major controversy among lawmakers and concerned families.
The miles per hour filter overlays the speed the user is traveling at the time he or she takes the snap. The media has raised concern that Snapchat users, especially teens and young adults, are purposefully speeding to get higher numbers on their snaps.
Has Snapchat caused any accidents?
Snapchat’s miles per hour filter has played an integral part in at least one personal injury lawsuit. Police have connected a 2015 accident in Hampton, GA to a driver’s use of Snapchat. The negligent driver admitted to her passengers that she was trying to get over 100 miles per hour to take a snap just before hitting another vehicle.
The accident caused the hospitalization of the other vehicle’s driver and rendered him permanently disabled. Now, the victim’s attorneys are pursuing a civil lawsuit against both the Snapchat-using driver and the company itself. In this case, attorneys are citing that Snapchat included a feature that had an extremely high probability of encouraging users to speed.
What makes Pokémon GO so dangerous?
Pokémon GO is an augmented reality game that sends players walking around their neighborhood in search of virtual monsters to catch. While the game opens with a warning about being aware of your surroundings and not playing while driving, thousands of social media posts have revealed that users do not always heed these warnings.
Has Pokémon GO caused any accidents?
A team of researchers recently published the results of a 10 day-long study in the Journal of American Medical Associates: Internal Medicine. The researchers conducted the study shortly after the release of the game and focused on identifying and confirming reports of accidents or dangerous behavior associated with Pokémon GO.
Using samples of data from both Twitter and professional news stories aggregated from Google News, the study estimated users playing Pokémon GO contributes to 14 accidents per day. However, the results of the Twitter analysis revealed as many as 110,000 accidents, near-misses, and potential accidents due to playing while driving or walking.
What do I do if I suffer injury by a driver I believe was using a cell phone app?
The first step in seeking compensation for your injuries is to call a Denver personal injury attorney. The Law Offices of Dianne Sawaya, LLC is here to help you collect evidence and determine liability for your accident. If a phone app played an integral part in the accident, we will determine if you have a case against the app developer as well as the at-fault driver.
These are complex cases and a case against Waze or Pokemon GO is so far unprecedented, while Snapchat’s liability in the 2015 accident remains undetermined. To protect your right to seek damages from liable parties after an accident, call The Law Offices of Dianne Sawaya, LLC today at 303-758-4777.