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NHTSA blames spike in traffic deaths on mobile apps

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration stated that an alarming spike in deaths from last year through the first half of this year is a "crisis that needs to be addressed now."

Although traffic deaths had declined over the past 50 years, 2015 saw a sharp increase. Even scarier: the first six months of 2016 had a 10.4 percent increase in highway deaths as compared to the first six months of 2015. The NHTSA and other government agencies have worked with the Obama administration to set a goal of zero deaths by 2046, the "Road to Zero" campaign.

Snapchat involved in Florida fatal accident

While using a phone in any capacity is dangerous while behind the wheel, the rise of social media and other mobile apps may have something to do with the recent increase in road deaths. For instance, the road navigation app Waze helps users get to their destination using user-generated information: traffic jam here, lane closure there, a car on the side of the road and more. The problem is these details are reported by users usually behind the wheel who are using the app instead of keeping their eyes on the road. And then there's SnapChat and its problematic "speed" filter.

As we wrote about recently, a horrifying accident late last month near Tampa killed five people involved the passenger using SnapChat to record the car's speed. The video posted on the social networking app shows the driver speeding from 82.6 mph to 115.6 mph as his female passenger films and laughs. Shortly after the video was posted, the car crossed a media and slammed into a van, killing the driver, passenger and three people in the van.

Digital paper trail as evidence

Apps that are designed to be used while driving, or have options that encourage their use in a moving vehicle, are creating a dangerous environment on the road. But one good thing does arise for victims of these kinds of accidents: all of this activity is traceable. Evidence, like the SnapChat video in the Tampa case or any other social media, GPS or other kind of digital paper trail can help in a case to show that the user was engaging in dangerous behavior and that's what cause the accident.

If you or a loved one were injured in an accident where a distracted driver was on their phone, it's time to contact an attorney to take legal action. You could be compensated for your medical bills and any other expenses or lost income because of the accident that wasn't your fault.

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