Distracted Driving Kills! Don't Text And Drive!

In 2018, not a day goes by that we don’t use technology. With the cars we drive, the phones we use, the watches on our wrist, technology seems to be in the air we breathe! Add on using the newest filters on Snapchat and Instagram, to sending text messages or answering phone calls, and technology can become extremely dangerous for drivers. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that approximately 660,000 people are using their cell phones while driving, daily! And, a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) report from 2015 found that, “there were 3,477 people killed and an estimated additional 391,000 injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers.”

Detroit Distracted Driving Car Accident Attorney

That is why readers should know that April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month! It’s important for drivers everywhere to be reminded about the serious dangers that distracted driving poses, because, the kicker is that all distracted driving car accidents and distracted driving accident fatalities are completely preventable! The National Safety Council (NSC) warns us that, “Each death is 100% preventable. From cell phones to dashboard infotainment systems to evolving voice command features – all pose a threat to our safety. Just one second of your attention is all takes to change a life forever.”

Cell phones are the number one suspect that comes to mind when thinking of distracted driving car accidents. In particular texting and driving is a big cause of distracted driving car accidents. In 2015, a survey of Michigan drivers found that 41% of young adults between the ages of 20-30 have admitted to texting and driving on a regular basis! 26% even admitted to texting and driving on a daily basis! Coincidentally, the State of Michigan reported that, “There were 7,516 crashes in Michigan during 2015 involving distracted driving, resulting in 28 fatalities and 3,472 injuries. Cell phones were involved in 753 crashes, with three fatalities and 377 injuries."  

No matter the distracting device however, whether it be cell phones, headphones, or smartwatches, any electronic device can impair driving. It might not seem like a big deal to see if you received a text message or a news update when your phone pings, after all, you’re just seeing what type of notification it is and don’t plan to read the text or the news blurb. However, engaging in such a seemingly harmless distraction while driving can lead to a car crash. In fact, the NHTSA says that looking down at a phone for five seconds driving at 55mph is like driving the length of a football field, blindfolded!

Unfortunately distracted driving isn’t just caused by using electronic devices. Changing the radio station because Nickelback is playing, driving with one hand on the wheel and one hand carrying a Big Mac to your mouth, or quickly reaching over to pick up Elmo after your kid dropped him, can all be distracted driving actions that can lead to serious car accidents. While these types of distracted driving habits have always existed, distracted driving has evolved in the age of social media. It’s not just about calling or texting someone while driving, but about applying the cutest camera filter for a behind-the-wheel selfie, or even checking Twitter to see what’s trending, or going on Facebook to see how many likes a post has gotten. 

Detroit Apple Lawyer

The number of distracted driving car accidents and distracted driving fatalities are scary enough to make people want to throw their phone out of a car window, but that’s not practical. Our society can no longer function without the easy communication and quick internet access cell phones provide us. Many people even see cell phones as an extension of their body, like another limb even. Therefore, it’s unreasonable to tell people to leave their phones at home when they plan to drive. Rather than facing that horrifying ultimatum, the public should be made aware of less drastic ways to prevent distracted driving. For example, some tech companies have invented apps, and even programs in their operating systems to prevent distracted driving car accidents. As previously reported by The Michigan Law Firm, PC, apps like Groove, and phone lock out programs like Apple’s Do Not Disturb While Driving mode, help prevent distracted driving car accidents.

Some organizations like AT&T have launched sponsorships like the It Can Wait pledge, to end distracted driving. With over 24 million pledges to stop distracted driving, It Can Wait has become one of the most popular anti-distracted driving organizations. It Can Wait has even created a virtual reality simulator that allows users to experience the dangers of texting and driving and shows how using a cell phone while driving truly impacts ones vision. It Can Wait also wants their users to take the pledge today, to stand up to distracted driving, and to become an activist who says ‘No’ to using a distracting device like a cell phone, to prevent car accidents, and to save lives. The organization, as previously reported by The Michigan Law Firm, also launched their DriveMode application that helps minimize cell phone distractions while driving. 


Distracted driving car crashes happen daily due to texting and driving, eating and driving, taking pictures and driving, and from engaging in any activity that causes drivers to not pay 100% attention to the road. If you or anyone you know has been involved in a car crash caused by a distracted driver, call The Michigan Law Firm, PC at 844.4MI.FIRM. Our experienced accident attorneys offer free consultations to victims of car accidents.

Lawsuit Against Snapchat For Rewarding Speeding Drivers Dismissed

Last May, The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC blog reported on a car accident caused by a driver using Snapchat, while behind the wheel. Following this motor vehicle crash, the Spalding County State Court in Griffin, Georgia was tasked with ruling over a case that may have helped set a precedent for companies that create platforms, apps, and devices, who could be found responsible if their invention potentially causes a driver to become distracted while driving.  

Snapchat Car Crash Lawsuit

Distracted Driving Accident Attorney Michigan

The defendant in the case, Christal McGee, was 18 years old at the time of the September, 2016 Snapchat car accident. After being involved in the car crash, McGee posted a selfie on Snapchat that depicted her strapped to a gurney with a head wound, captioned, "Lucky to be alive." The photo went viral and sparked an investigation into her auto accident. Investigators found that McGee had been using a Snapchat filter that apparently records how fast the user is going at the time the picture is taken, and rewards the user with a 'trophy' if they are going more than 100 mph. It was discovered that McGee was going about 107 MPH with three passengers in the car, when Wentworth Maynard drifted into her lane and was rear-ended by McGee's speeding vehicle. 

The case was looking to determine whether or not Snapchat should be held responsible for this motor vehicle crash, and if they should pay reparations to Wentworth-a former Uber driver- and his wife Karen, who were both in the car rear-ended by McGee. Maynard had suffered a severe traumatic brain injury from the auto accident. After deliberating, Judge Josh Thacker ended up dismissing the charges against Snapchat, saying the company was immune to the charges under the following clause from the 1996 Communications Decency Act:

"No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider." 

McGee, however, has been charged with reckless driving, speeding, driving too fast for road conditions, and a felony charge of serious injury by vehicle. One of McGee's passengers was Heather McCarty, who was 27 and pregnant at the time of the distracted driving car crash, and had simply accepted a ride home from her co-worker, McGee.

The New York Daily News reports that while in the vehicle, McCarty said, "What are you doing? Slow down!" to McGee as she supposedly attempted to reach 100 mph. "I just remember screaming 'There's a car!' and I know we hit the back of his vehicle and I don't remember anything after that." 

Michigan Distracted Driving Laws 

The Michigan House of Representatives is in talks of creating a bill that will ban drivers from using their cell phone while behind the wheel, with the exception of Bluetooth and other hands-free technology. Drivers, MLive reports, would also be allowed to use their handheld device if they are pulled to the side of the road or in another area where they can remain stationary. Another exception is if the phone is securely mounted to the windshield or dashboard within easy reach. The bill will include banning the use of electronics such as handheld games, laptops, and GPS devices. Michigan drivers would even be prohibited from using the devices at stop signs and traffic lights.  

Source: GIPHY, American Broadcasting Company's  The View

Source: GIPHY, American Broadcasting Company's The View

The bill defines phone use as:

"Conducting a search; viewing, taking, or transmitting an image or video; playing games; performing a command or request to access an internet page; and composing, sending, reading, viewing, accessing, browsing, transmitting, saving, or retrieving an e-mail message, text message, instant message or other electronic data." - H.R. 4466

Any motorists that are found guilty would have to pay a $250 fine for the first offense and $500 for the second. First responders such as EMTs, firefighters, and law enforcement officers however, would be free to use a two-way radio or citizens band (CB) radio service. The bill would also exempt citizens who are reporting an accident, road hazard, crime, or other emergencies.

Jim Santilli, chief executive officer of the Transportation Improvement Association, a Troy-based nonprofit supporting the introduction of this bill, has said that after California banned the use of handheld electronic devices, traffic fatalities dropped by 22% and deaths specifically related to drivers using handheld devices fell 47%. So, it stands to reason that Michigan could benefit from implementing a similar law, helping minimize social media car accident injuries and distracted driving fatalities on the road. 

Snapchat Car Crash Lawyer

If you've ever tried to tell a teenager to put away their phone at the dinner table, you know how difficult the task is. Young adults and teens thrive on taking pictures, watching videos, and constantly checking social media. Hopefully however, with publicity from this Snapchat lawsuit and other social media car accident lawsuits and the possibility of new distracted driving laws being passed, distracted driving will be seen as a serious offense. Drivers may then be persuaded to turn of their mobile devices when behind the wheel, to prevent distracted driving accidents from happening. To nail this point on the head, a Snapchat spokesperson stated in relation to the McGee-Maynard case, "No Snap is more important than someone's safety." So, let's remember to practice safe driving habits and to leave the phone in the backseat, turned off, or in the hands of a passenger, next time we get ready to operate a moving vehicle. 


As accidents caused by distracted drivers are occurring increasingly more often, it is important that drivers become aware of preventative and safety measures to deter them from using their electronics while operating a vehicle. Distracted driving causes just as much harm and as many fatalities as drunk driving and so, it's prevention should be treated just as importantly. If you or someone you know has been in an accident involving a distracted driver, please call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation.

Help! We Can't Stop Texting And Driving

Distracted driving has become a major issue in our world today, especially since more people have smartphones than ever before. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that each day in the United States, 660,000 drivers use an electronic device while driving. Also, each day, approximately 9 people are killed and more than 1,000 are injured in automobile crashes reported to have involved a distracted driver, based on statistics from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It should be mentioned that these are just the reported distracted driving car accident cases, and there many be thousands of other cell phone car accidents that occurred without official documentation, because of how difficult it is for authorities to pinpoint a distracted driver. It therefore goes without saying that distracted driving is very dangerous, and with the technological era upon us, it is also on the rise.

Social Media Car Crash Lawyer

Distracted Driving Statistics

The following statistics, provided by Click On Detroit, help put the dangers of distracted driving into context:

  1. Taking your eyes off the road for more than two seconds doubles your risk of a crash.
  2. When driving 55 miles per hour, five seconds with eyes off the road is equivalent to driving the length of a football field blindfolded.
  3. Distraction is a factor in nearly 6 out of 10 moderate-to-severe teen crashes

The texting and driving problem has gotten so big that highways across the country now regularly warn drivers "Don't text and drive," and 46 states and the District of Columbia have laws banning texting and driving. If these laws don't deter people from engaging in distracted driving, we hope that drivers will keep these shocking statistics in mind, to help prevent a distracted driving car accident and to minimize the risk of experiencing a life-changing car crash injury on the road.

Distracted Driving Accident Attorney

However, although we know that talking or texting while driving is an issue, the problem isn't just calling or sending a text message to catch up with your best friend. Drivers with smart phones are now even using Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google Maps, Spotify, and YouTube, all while operating a vehicle on busy roads. In a survey sponsored by the National Safety Council that focused on 2,400 drivers of all ages, 74% said they would use Facebook while driving, and 37% said they would use Twitter while behind the wheel, with YouTube (35%) and Instagram (33%) close behind. 

 CNN talked to Jennifer Smith, a mother of two and founder of the advocacy group StopDistractions.org. She lost her own mother in a crash nearly 8 years ago when a 20-year-old who was talking on the phone drove through a stoplight. Since then, Smith has devoted her life to helping other families who have become victims of distracted driving crashes by providing support, lobbying for legislation, and planning public awareness events.  Smith believes that people need to really focus on what's important. "As I'm talking to new families, more and more of them are telling me, 'It's Snapchat,'" said Smith, whose daughters were 1 and 13 when their grandmother was killed in Oklahoma City. "It's Snapchat today, but then what is it tomorrow?...Social networking while driving is not necessary and should not be done by anyone, in any way, who's driving. Period. And somehow we've got to make the whole country understand that."

Also acknowledging the widespread problem of using social media while driving, Deborah Hersman, President and CEO of the National Safety Council commented, "We know that it's an under-reported issue and it's a lot like impaired driving in that way where people know it's not acceptable to do it, and yet a lot of people still do it anyway." 

The Science Behind Distracted Driving

David Greenfield, founder of the Center for Internet and Technology, told CNN that the constant need to check our phones, even when operating a vehicle, is caused by the “addictive nature of smartphones and how our brain instinctively responds to those pings, which signal an incoming text or social media update.” 

Smartphones are taking over the world. They are affecting our brains and behavior on a daily basis. When we hear the alert of a new message, social media notification, or new email, our brains get a dose of dopamine, which is a chemical that leads to an increase in arousal. “The dopamine reward centers are the same centers that have to do with pleasure from eating, pleasure from sex and procreation, pleasure from drugs and alcohol,” Greenfield said. “This reward circuitry is as old as time and if we didn’t have it, we probably wouldn’t exist as a species.”

Where the trouble arises however, is not the higher level of dopamine, but the shutdown of access to the prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for most of our judgement and reasoning. “The parts of the brain that say, ‘OK, how important is this text? Is this text worth dying for? Is this text worth killing somebody else for?’” Greenfield said. “The answer, of course, logically, would be ‘no,’ but if you have less access to that part of your brain when you’re in this state, which seems to be the case, then you’re not really using your judgement.” 

Distracted Driving Prevention Apps

Scott Tibbitts, founder of a technology called Groove, believes he can help bring an end to distracted driving. His distracted driving prevention app sends a signal to the driver’s phone service provider, altering it to hold off on all texts and social media notifications while they are driving, and also prevents the driver from posting anything while the car is moving. Tibbitts compares the addiction to texting while driving to having an open bag of potato chips in the car. “I know I shouldn’t be eating potato chips, but just take a deep breath of that barbecue sauce. Well that’s what the ‘bing’ is. The ‘bing’ is “Oh, my gosh this might be the text message from my daughter that says, 'Dad, I need help,'” Tibbitts explained.

Michigan Distracted Driving Car Crash Lawyer

Groove is only one of many distracted driving prevention apps and phone features being developed to minimize distracted driving, like Apple's Do Not Disturb While Driving feature and At&T's DriveMode app. It may seem ironic to use technology to stop the usage of electronics while driving, but it actually might make more sense. If people are relying so much on their mobile devices, what better way to spread the word about the risks of distracted driving and to help break bad habits than with the cell phones themselves? 

Every time we look at social media while behind the wheel or text while driving, we get a false sense of security and believe that we will be safe in future attempts. Despina Stavrinos, director of the University of Alabama’s distracted driving research lab, says it’s similar to the reinforcement theory. “So you’re driving every day, sending text messages, and nothing happens. So it’s reinforcing to you, ‘Hey, I can do this. I am a pretty good multitasker,’” said Stavrinos. In reality, distracted driving is doing nothing more than putting drivers and passengers at risk for severe injury or death. People are smart enough to develop addictive apps and modern cell phone technology, so they should be more than capable of making the right decision to forget the distractions and focus on the road while driving. 


In many ways, distracted driving can be just as dangerous (if not more so) to drivers and others on the road, than drunk driving. If you truly believe that text messages, Facebook alerts or emails are that important, pull over to the side of the road and complete your business before getting back on the road. If you or someone you know has been involved in a distracted driving car crash, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC today. Our firm are highly experienced in dealing with all types of motor vehicle accidents and can help you. Call us at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation.

Snapchat's "Speed Filter" Allegedly Causing Accidents on the Road?

Distracted Driving Car Crash Lawyer

Snapchat, the increasingly popular picture phone app, is now at the center of attention for those looking for causes of distracted driving. Many are pointing to the app’s “speed filter” feature which allows drivers to track how fast they are going, tag it on a photo, and share it with their friends. Because pictures and videos disappear in 10 seconds or less, drivers allegedly become more distracted from the road and place more focus on the picture before it’s gone. According to the United States Department of Transportation, distracted driving activities such as sending or receiving pictures can take your eyes off of the road for about 4.6 seconds. At 55 mph, that is similar to driving the length of a football field blindfolded. 

In April, Georgia resident Wentworth Maynard sued Snapchat and a young driver for a car crash that left him with serious brain injuries. The lawsuit alleges that a young driver was driving at speeds over 100 mph because she was using the filter. While distracted, the driver crashed into the Mitsubishi that Maynard was driving. He suffered major brain trauma as a result. The accident took place in Clayton County, and the minimum driver’s insurance is $25,000, an amount which will likely not be enough to cover Maynard’s medical costs. 

Following the suit, Snapchat released the following statement: 

“No Snap is more important than someone’s safety. We actively discourage our community from using the speed filter while driving, including the ‘Do NOT Snap and Drive’ warning message in the app itself.” 

Drivers should remember that no text or picture is important enough to take their eyes off the road while driving. If it's an urgent matter, drivers should pull over to the side of the road. Taking this cautious step will not only help reduce the chances of you getting injured in a car accident, but it can also help save the lives of other drivers on the road. 


If you or someone you know has been in an accident caused by distracted driving, feel free to call The Michigan Law Firm PLLC. Our attorneys are experienced in handling these types of accidents, and will get you the help you need. Call us today, at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation.