“Snapping” Away Your Life?

“Snapping” Away Your Life?

Are you Senseless to Snapchat away your Promising Future?

Snapchat Adds to Increased Traffic Fatalities

Road traffic accidents—the leading cause of death by injury and the tenth-leading cause of all deaths globally—now make up a surprisingly significant portion of the worldwide burden of ill health.  An estimated 1.25 million people are killed in road crashes each year, and as many as 50 million are injured, occupying 30 percent to 70 percent of orthopedic beds in developing countries hospitals.  And if present trends continue, road traffic injuries are predicted to be the third-leading contributor to the global burden of disease and injury by 2020.

There are so many causes contributing to the increased traffic accidents.  One of the latest additions is called Snapchat – the victim’s families say it was being used the night three young lives ended in December in a fiery Philadelphia car crash.  Most people know Snapchat as the app that allows users to send their friends pictures, videos, or texts that disappear within seconds.  But a triple fatal accident on Torresdale Avenue in Philadelphia raised questions about whether it has another feature that could encourage youngsters to speed.  In the early morning hours of Sunday, Dec. 20, 2015, just five days before Christmas, police say a Black Camaro carrying three young Philadelphia women was speeding down Torresdale Avenue.  Their car slammed into a parked tractor-trailer carrying herbicide, and burst into flames.  A witness on the scene said he could hear people screaming from inside the car, but he couldn’t get to the vehicle due to the flames.  But what prompted the driver to apparently break the speed limits? Evidence uncovered points to the possibility an app exploding in popularity may have played a role.

Teens are big fans of Snapchat.  It appears that teens these days would go on and check in from where they are.   For two boys, in New York, recently went on a joy ride, their deadly accident was what may have been the final snap in life.  Then allegedly showed them in a car, holding up how fast they were going – the mileage was about 123 – showing the car flying down the highway in a 55-mile zone.  These boys were “Snapping” their speed – but burned alive.  The miles per hour feature, included on the Snapchat app, allows users to post videos, in some cases showing their dangerous pace.  Recently, I have found young kids on YouTube also using the filter to brag about their speed, including one Snapchat user posting a speed of nearly 106 miles per hour and a motorcycle’s Snapchat speed showing 57 miles per hour.  Four high school teenagers died just this week in Maryland – again, excessive speed was the primary cause.

Our children must think about the devastating everlasting adverse impact of your actions on you, your friends, parents, siblings, extended families, etc.   Please you must think about your dreams – an amazing future God has stored in just for you. You have so much to enjoy in this world. All lost – for what! Think about the enormous price of a moment of glory!

How does speeding increase the chances and severity of a crash?

What is speeding? How big a factor is speeding in serious and fatal crashes?
Speeding – which encompasses excessive speed (i.e., driving above the speed limits) or inappropriate speed (driving too fast for the prevailing conditions) – is unquestionably recognized as a major contributory factor in both the number and severity of traffic crashes

As a vehicle’s speed increases, so do the distance travelled during the driver’s reaction time (reaction distance) and the distance needed to stop (braking distance). Also, the higher the speed, the greater the amount of kinetic (moving) energy that must be absorbed by the impact in a crash. Therefore, as well as being identified as a causal factor in around 40 per cent of fatal crashes, speed is an aggravating factor in the severity of all crashes.

What is a driver’s reaction time and braking distance?

Reaction time is how long a driver takes to see both a hazard and the time it takes the brain to realize the danger and process a reaction to a hazard for example, starting to brake. The braking distance is the distance that a vehicle travels while slowing to a complete stop.   As your speed increases – so does the distance you travel while your brain is processing information and reacting to it – and so does the distance you need to stop. The average time it takes for most drivers to react to a risky situation on the road is 1.5 seconds. A driver who is fatigued or distracted (e.g., using a mobile phone or affected by drugs or alcohol) may take as long as three critical seconds to react.

How does speed contribute to the increased risk and severity having a crash?

Speed will increase both the reaction distance, and the braking distance. A driver travelling at faster speeds will have covered more ground in between spotting and reacting to a hazard than a driver travelling at a slower speed, so the speeding driver is more likely to crash.

Speed is also a major contributory factor to the severity of a crash. Consider this example: Two cars of equal weight and braking ability are travelling along the same road. Car 1, travelling at 35 miles/h, is overtaking Car 2, which is travelling at 30 miles/h.  A child on a bicycle – let’s call him Matthew – emerges from a driveway 95 feet away just as the two cars are side-by-side. The drivers both see Sam at the same time and both take 1.2 seconds before they fully apply their brakes. In the few moments it takes to react and stop, Car 2 would have had enough space in which to stop without hitting Matthew. Car 1, on the other hand, would be travelling at 27 miles/h when it hits Matthew and at this speed, it is highly likely that Car 1 would have seriously injured or even killed Matthew.

Speeding also contributes to the increased risk of losing vehicle control. At higher speeds, cars become more difficult to maneuver – especially on corners or curves or where evasive action is necessary.

Road traffic injuries

Key facts based on latest available data:

  • About 1.25 million people die each year as a result of road traffic crashes.
  • Road traffic injuries are the leading cause of death among young people, aged 15–29 years.
  • 90% of the world’s fatalities on the roads occur in low- and middle-income countries, even though these countries have approximately half of the world’s vehicles.
  • Half of those dying on the world’s roads are “vulnerable road users”: pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists.
  • Without action, road traffic crashes are predicted to rise to become the 7th leading cause of death by 2030.
  • The newly adopted 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’s has set an ambitious road safety target of halving the global number of deaths and injuries from road traffic crashes by 2020.

Every year the lives of approximately 1.25 million people are cut short as a result of road traffic crash. Between 20 and 50 million more people suffer non-fatal injuries, with many incurring a disability as a result of their injury.

Who is at risk?

Socioeconomic status

More than 90% of deaths that result from road traffic injuries occur in low- and middle-income countries. Road traffic injury death rates are highest in the low- and middle-income countries of the African region. Even within high-income countries, people from lower socioeconomic backgrounds are more likely to be involved in a road traffic crashes.


People aged between 15 and 44 years account for 48% of global road traffic deaths.


From a young age, males are more likely to be involved in road traffic crashes than females. About three-quarters (73%) of all road traffic deaths occur among men. Among young drivers, young males under the age of 25 years are almost 3 times as likely to be killed in a car crash as young females.

Risk factors and what can be done to address them

Road traffic injuries can be prevented. Governments need to take action to address road safety in a holistic manner, that requires involvement from multiple sectors (transport, police, health, education) and that addresses the safety of roads, vehicles, and road users themselves.

Effective interventions include designing safer infrastructure and incorporating road safety features into land-use and transport planning; improving the safety features of vehicles; and improving post-crash care for victims of road crashes. Interventions that target road user behavior are equally important, such as setting and enforcing laws relating to key risk factors, and raising public awareness.

Key risk factors


An increase in average speed is directly related both to the likelihood of a crash occurring and to the severity of the consequences of the crash.

  • An adult pedestrian’s risk of dying is less than 20% if struck by a car at 30 miles/h and almost 60% if hit at 50 miles/h.
  • 20 miles/h speed zones can reduce the risk of a crash and are recommended in areas where vulnerable road users are common like residential and schools areas.
  • Apart from reducing road traffic injuries, lower average traffic speeds can have other positive effects on health outcomes (e.g. by reducing respiratory problems associated with car emissions).


Drinking and driving increases both the risk of a crash and the likelihood that death or serious injury will result.

  • The risk of being involved in a crash increases significantly above a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.04 g/dl.
  • Laws that establish BACs of 0.05g/dl or below are effective at reducing the number of alcohol-related crashes.
  • Enforcing sobriety checkpoints and random breath testing can lead to reductions in alcohol-related crashes of about 20% and have shown to be very cost-effective.
  • Young and novice drivers are subject to an increased risk of road traffic crashes, when under the influence of alcohol, compared to older and more experienced drivers.
  • Laws that establish lower BACs (≤0.02 g/dl) for young and novice drivers can lead to reductions in the number of crashes involving young people by up to 24%.

Motorcycle helmets

  • Wearing a motorcycle helmet correctly can reduce the risk of death by almost 40% and the risk of severe injury by over 70%.
  • When motorcycle helmet laws are enforced effectively, helmet-wearing rates can increase to over 90%.
  • Requiring helmets to meet recognized safety standards ensures that helmets can effectively reduce the impact of a collision to the head in the event of a crash.

Seat belts and child restraints

  • Wearing a seat belt reduces the risk of a fatality among front-seat passengers by 40–50% and of rear-seat passengers by between 25–75%.
  • Mandatory seat-belt laws and their enforcement have been shown to be very effective at increasing seat-belt wearing rates.
  • If correctly installed and used, child restraints reduce deaths among infants by approximately 70% and deaths among small children by between 54% and 80%.

Distracted driving

There are many types of distractions that can lead to impaired driving, but recently there has been a marked increase around the world in the use of mobile phones by drivers that is becoming a growing concern for road safety. The distraction caused by mobile phones can impair driving performance.  Drivers using mobile phones may have: slower reaction times (notably braking reaction time, but also reaction to traffic signals), impaired ability to keep in the correct lane, and shorter following distances.

  • Snapchat and Text messaging also results in considerably reduced driving performance, with young drivers at particular risk of the effects of distraction resulting from this use.
  • Drivers using a mobile phone are approximately 4 times more likely to be involved in a crash than when a driver does not use a phone. Hands-free phones are not much safer than hand-held phone sets.
  • While there is little concrete evidence on how to reduce mobile phone use while driving, governments need to be proactive. Actions that can be taken include: adopting legislative measures, launching public awareness campaigns, and regularly collecting data on distracted driving to better understand the nature of this problem.

My dearest children – please be smart – do not Snapchat,  Text, and Speed your life away!  We need you and us parents cannot imagine a life on this earth without you.  My son Elai’s classmate of 16 years died on this Sunday morning from speeding (NOT Snapchat).  Can you imagine your family and friends waking up to this news!  One of the photographs is from that crash.  My son’s tears inspired me to write this article. I can only imagine the cries of that boy’s mom and dad! Please do NOT do it. Drive carefully and responsibly.  We your parents love you beyond human imagination and our lives depend on yours’!



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