Snapchat may be the most popular social media site among teens and young adults. Users post live photos and video to a feed and the content is automatically deleted after 24 hours. They can use filters (graphic designs that overlay photos and videos) to enhance posts.
Geofilters that show the event you're attending and selfie-cam filters that add makeup and accessories to your face are especially popular. But there's one filter in particular that has been causing some trouble. Using this filter while you drive may have serious consequences.
Moments before a fatal car accident occurred, one of the passengers was using the speed filter on Snapchat, which shows how fast (mph) the user is traveling. Although it's not clear what specifically caused the accident, the filter did show the vehicle was going over 100 mph nine minutes before the accident. The fiery car crash claimed the driver's life, his passenger, and the lives of 39-year-old Marianela Murillo and two of her children, 10-year-old Isabell Bernal and 9-year-old John Bernal.
Pablo Cortes III, 22-years-old, was traveling down a Tampa highway with his passenger, 19-year-old Jolie Bartolome. A video on Bartolome's Snapchat story shows they were going 115.6 mph before Cortes lost control of the vehicle, crossed the median into oncoming traffic and hit Murillo's minivan head-on.
Murillo's oldest daughter, 18-year-old Lina Bernal, and a 15-year-old girl were also in the van but they survived the crash. Both of them are in critical condition. Cortes's vehicle also hit another driver and that woman is seriously injured as well.
A different incident involving Snapchat occurred last year in Atlanta, Georgia. Christal McGee's Snapchat speed filter showed she was driving 107 mph when she crashed into Wentworth Maynard's vehicle. He suffered permanent brain damage and is now wheelchair-bound. He also sued McGee and Snapchat.
CBS News reports there's growing concern that this filter encourages reckless driving. Snapchat told CBS News that a warning comes up the first time the speed filter is used. It instructs drivers not to drive while snapping. Unfortunately, people are not heeding that warning but there is a petition to get the filter removed.
According to the National Safety Council, cellphone usage while driving causes 1.6 million car accidents in the United States each year. Luckily, there are some apps you can use to disable your child's phone while he or she drives.
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** A previous version of this article indicated that Cortes was driving 115.6 mph when his vehicle hit Murillo's vehicle. The speed at the moment of the crash is unknown at this time and police are still investigating. **