If you’re active on Snapchat, then you’re familiar with the various filters the app provides. Outside of those that alter your facial features or add special effects, there also filters that tag your location or the temperature.
One more controversial feature is the speed filter, which indicates how fast a user was going at the time the picture was taken. Snapchat will be dropping this feature soon, but why? Here’s everything you need to know about the company’s decision.
Introduced in 2013, the speed filter has drawn the ire of safety advocates across the country who say it encourages reckless driving. If you’re spending time looking at and using your phone, then you’re putting yourself and others at risk.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that playing on your phone behind the wheel is dangerous, but it causes roughly 1.6 million accidents each year. In 2019, those accidents killed 3,142 people. Snapchat’s filter isn’t immune to those statistics, either. Countless families have filed lawsuits over loved ones who were injured or killed while using it.
Snapchat Inc. had previously defended their speed filter. However, they have since changed their mind in light of the lawsuits. A 2015 incident left a Georgia driver with permanent brain damage, while another that same year left three young women dead in Philadelphia.
Florida saw five die in 2016 while using the filter. In 2017, three men in Wisconsin thought it would be fun to see how fast they could go while using the app. They reached 123 mph before wrapping their car around a tree, killing all three of them. Keep in mind that those are just a few of the cases involving the speed filter.
Snapchat did change the feature from a filter to a sticker and added a warning about driving while using their app. They also capped the top speed at 35 mph. While those are efforts on the company’s part, the feature still poses an immense danger for drivers.
Legal professionals, similar to car accident attorney Dan Rose, have picked up numerous cases against Snapchat Inc. Meanwhile, federal courts have made it possible for families to sue the company over injury and death, stating that Snapchat’s feature shows negligence.
Some legal experts have even built cases around teens believing, for whatever reason, that they will receive a prize for topping a certain number of miles per hour, most often 100. That’s a terrifying thought and incredibly dangerous. The company continues to fight these cases, though, saying their feature is not the cause of any accidents.
In the meantime, however, Snapchat Inc. will remove the speed filter to avoid any further lawsuits. So, that’s one feature you can kiss goodbye in the near future. Don’t worry, though, you’ll still have all your beloved face filters and the full suite of Snap effects to enjoy.