'Recipe For Disaster': Snapchat Video Filmed Moments Before Fatal Car Crash
Police have pleaded for sense and begged drivers to ignore their phones, raising fears of a worrying trend of social media-linked car crashes.
A Snapchat video allegedly capturing the moments before a young woman was killed in a head-on crash triggered the warning to young Australians about the dangers of using social media behind the wheel.
Shania McNeill, 21, was killed when the car she was driving allegedly veered into oncoming traffic in Sydney's Berkshire Park on Sunday, colliding with another vehicle.
McNeill's two passengers were transported to hospital with non-life threatening injuries. The two men in the other vehicle -- a 61-year-old driver and 39-year-old passenger -- were also taken to hospital.
Police are now investigating a Snapchat video which allegedly shows the 21-year-old woman posing for the camera in the driver's seat moments before the crash.
A female passenger can be heard squealing in the clip before someone shouts “Shania!”, to which McNeill responds by briefly smiling and making a hand gesture at the camera.
She directs the person filming to point the camera back at the road ahead of them before the footage cuts out.
The clip was allegedly posted to Snapchat by McNeill's passenger, around the same time the crash occurred on Richmond Road at 1.15am.
It has since been shared across other social media platforms.
A passing police officer was the first on the scene on Sunday morning, where he found members of the public had already helped McNeill from the vehicle. Despite attempts to resuscitate her, she died before paramedics arrived.
The footage is a disturbing reminder of the dangers associated not only with the use of mobile phones behind the wheel, but the growing trend of using video platforms to distract drivers from the passenger seat -- a situation NSW Assistant Commissioner Michael Corboy described as a "recipe for disaster".
"I've recently spoken in the United States where a rising trend in motor vehicles is the use of social media and video chats in relation to phone calls," Corboy said.
"We need to make sure that that doesn't happen in this country."
Corboy said 9000 traffic infringement notices had been issued in NSW this year in relation to mobile phone use in motor vehicles, with about 1000 for P-plate drivers who are not allowed to use a mobile phone -- hand-held or hands-free -- for any function while driving.
"I think the most disturbing thing in the video is the fact that her parents and family have to look at that video now," Corboy said.
"Start saving your own lives, start saving the lives of the people in your vehicle, but most importantly we don't want anymore more innocent lives taken from people who have crossed the incorrect side of the road and head-on with another vehicle.
"So the message is quite clear, put the mobile phones away, put them in the boot if you have to."
The Snapchat video will form part of the police investigation into the crash.