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Snapchat Involved in Distracted Driving Lawsuit

A recent lawsuit blames Snapchat for a crash that happened in Georgia.

Details about the Georgia Car Crash

The Verge is reporting that a young girl was attempting to capture the perfect Snapchat story when she caused an accident that happened on September 10, 2015. A recent lawsuit alleges that Snapchat’s “speed filter,” which allows users to display the speed at which they are travelling while taking the photo, encouraged reckless driving and can cause automobile accidents.

18-year-old Christal McGee was attempting to travel at speeds of over 100 miles per hour while using Snapchat’s speed filter and did not notice Wentworth Maynard’s vehicle to pull onto the Georgia highway that she was traveling on. At about 11:15 p.m., McGee hit Maynard’s vehicle at speeds of about 107 miles per hours on a portion of the road where the speed limit was listed at 55 miles per hour.

The lawsuit indicates that the speed filter on Snapchat facilitated McGee’s excessive speed because she was attempting to gain recognition through the app. Even after the accident happened, while McGee was in the hospital, she took to Snapchat to post a bloody-faced selfie, which she captioned with, “Lucky to be alive.”

Maynard, who was an Uber driver, stayed in the hospital for five weeks and now suffers from permanent brain damage. His attorneys say that Maynard lost 50 pounds, cannot get around without a wheelchair or walker, and cannot work or support himself. Both Maynard and his wife are suing McGee and Snapchat to cover medical bills.

Can Snapchat be Held Liable?

Before this accident even happened, several petitions were started online that called on Snapchat to remove the speed filter, but Snapchat refused. The lawsuit further suggests that despite knowledge of the dangers of the speed filter, Snapchat did not remove it from the app, and cites another accident that happened earlier in 2015 in Brazil in which a woman suffered from injuries that happened caused by a vehicle speeding along at 110 miles per hour.

Snapchat, however, does have an in-app warning about the dangers of using the app and filter while driving, saying that the user should not do anything to distract them from traffic and safety laws.

Important Information about Distracted Driving Accidents

According to an article in the Huffington Post, there are about nine wrongful deaths that happen every single day in the United States in accidents involving distracted driving:

  • In 2013, there were a total of 341,000 motor vehicle accidents that involved texting.
  • Using a cellphone while driving can increase the risk of being involved in an accident by as much as four times.
  • There is a one in four chance that a motor vehicle accident in the United States involved the use of a cellphone.

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