Using Social Media While Driving Can Lead To Distracted Driving Accidents
According to a Pew Research Center fact sheet, around seven-in-ten Americans use social media. People use social media to connect with each other, share information, engage with news content, and even for entertainment. Undoubtedly, social media has brought the world closer and connected people in unprecedented ways. However, social media also has many negative effects. For example, multiple studies have found a strong link between social media and an increased risk of anxiety, depression, loneliness, self-harm, and even suicidal thoughts. Also, using social media while driving has led to many distracted driving accidents.
Social Media Usage as a Form of Distracted Driving
According to the CDC, distracted driving is any activity that takes a driver’s attention away from driving. Texting while driving, using a navigation system, talking to other passengers, and eating are all forms of distracted driving. Another form of distracted driving is social media use. As much as this is one of the newest forms of distracted driving, it is quickly proving to be one of the most dangerous forms of distracted driving. The addiction to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, TikTok, and other social media platforms can affect how people drive.
So how exactly can social media distract a driver? You may be tempted to assume that social media can only distract you from the task of driving when you are sending posts to your online friends or followers. The reality, however, is that social media can distract you from driving in many different ways. The following are a few of the ways that social media can distract you from the task of driving;
- Typing posts
- Reading posts
- Scrolling through your timeline
- Live Streaming while driving
- Creating shareable videos
Engaging in any of the above-listed behaviors can result in a driver’s attention being broken. Reading some posts, for example, usually takes a minute or more, and that represents a dangerous amount of time not focusing completely on the road. Using social media while driving can result in, among other things, a driver running a red light, missing a stop sign, or speeding. All these things can lead to a crash.
Social Media Challenges Can Result in Accidents
People love joining viral social media “challenges.” Indeed, some social media challengers are admittedly awesome. However, others are dangerous and even deadly. One such challenge is the “Bird Box” challenge. This challenge began after the movie “Bird Box” showed actress Sandra Bullock completing stunts like rowing a boat through rapids while blindfolded. Naturally, this led people to attempt everyday tasks, including driving, while blindfolded. Unfortunately, this challenge led to several accidents, including an accident involving a 17-year-old girl who crashed into another car while driving a pickup truck while blindfolded.
Another dangerous social media challenge was the “Kiki Challenge,” which was inspired by a song by the popular rapper Drake. This challenge involved drivers exiting their vehicles while the vehicle was still moving and dancing to the Drake song, “In My Feelings.” This challenge led to injuries to social media users who decided to try it out, including an 18-year-old woman who had to be rushed to the intensive care unit.
Additionally, apart from challenges, there are some features embedded in social media applications that lead to reckless driving, thus accidents. For example, there used to be a speed filter on Snapchat that allowed users to capture their speed while driving and share it with friends. This feature resulted in many accidents, including one that left a victim with traumatic brain injuries. According to news sources, the driver who was using the Snapchat filter at the time of the accident claimed that she was just trying to get her car to 100 miles per hour to post it on Snapchat in an area with a speed limit of 55mph.
Liability in a Car Accident Caused by Social Media Use
According to Florida Statute 316.305, it is illegal for a person to drive while manually typing or entering multiple numbers, symbols, letters, or other characters into a wireless communication device or reading or sending data on such a device. In other words, this statute makes it illegal to drive while texting. However, social media use can also fall under Florida Statute 316.305. Therefore, this means that, when an accident happens, the person that was distracted by social media at the time of the accident is likely to be held liable for injuries and damages. Additionally, if a feature on a social media application leads to reckless driving and thus an accident, the social media company may also be held partially liable.
Contact a Fort Myers Car Accident Attorney
If you were injured in a Florida car accident that you believe was caused by a driver who was distracted by social media, get in touch with a Fort Myers car accident attorney at The Law Offices of Marc L. Shapiro. We can fight for you while you concentrate on recovering from your injuries. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.