The dangers of texting and driving are well-documented, but in this case, a teenager was allegedly using Snapchat while behind the wheel.
Back on September 10th last year, 18-year-old Christal McGee was reportedly actively using the Snapchat speed filter while driving, causing an accident that left the driver of the other vehicle with brain damage.
Reportedly, even the traffic accident didn’t stop McGee from posting photos to the popular picture-sharing app, with one immediately after the crash stating, “Lucky to be alive.”
— Daily Mirror (@DailyMirror) April 29, 2016
The Snapchat speed filter reportedly informs followers the speed the user was traveling at the time the image was taken. In this case, the use of that filter shortly prior to the crash allegedly led to the serious accident, with the other driver left with brain damage.
According to a report by the Mirror Online, McGee and the other passengers in her car were taken to a hospital, but they only required treatment for minor injuries. However, the other driver involved in the crash, Wentworth Maynard, now requires round-the-clock care from his family as a result of the accident.
Wentworth’s wife Karen said: “We used to sit on the sofa and watch TV in the evening, and Wentworth would hug me.”
“Now, he can’t do that anymore.”
It’s not only McGee that is being targeted, however, as Maynard’s family, who live in Georgia, are also including Snapchat in their law suit.
Claiming that the popular app is dangerous and promotes both speeding and dangerous driving, the Maynard’s court papers read: “This is a product liability case because Snapchat put something very dangerous in the marketplace without any warnings or safeguards.”
The Snapchat app is popular with smartphone users, including the speed filter option, and in this case, McGee wanted to post an image of herself going fast.
Reportedly the teenager claimed after the accident that she was “just trying to get the car to 100 miles per hour to post it on Snapchat.”
— Steve Trawley (@stevetrawley) April 29, 2016
While it is obviously dangerous to drive and use Snapchat at the same time, CBS46 reports that a witness on the scene says the lawyers have the whole story wrong.
While he is no longer in contact with McGee, the witness, Henry Williams, is one of the three other passengers in the vehicle at the time of the accident. He told CBS46 that he was sitting alongside McGee at the time and remembers the incident well.
In his opinion, the accident was caused by the plaintiff in the court case, not the defendant using Snapchat at the time of the crash.
Williams said, “He pulled out in front of us, and instead of speeding up, he never speeded up.”
The official police report by the Lovejoy Police reportedly never blamed either driver for causing the accident, and no one was accused of speeding. According to the police, their investigation is still not over and has nothing to do with the theory that using Snapchat was responsible for the crash.
Allegedly, law firms from all over the U.S. have been eyeing Snapchat’s speed filter for a while, looking for incidents where they can use it as an excuse to sue Snapchat.
According to CBS46, when they asked Williams if any of the passengers in the car was using Snapchat on the night in question, he replied, “No sir.”
When asked what speed McGee was traveling at, Williams said he wasn’t paying attention at the time, but he doubts it was the 113 mph the law suit is alleging.
Lovejoy police say they can’t tell how fast either car was going, as the road was wet, and tire marks were inconclusive.
Reportedly records do show that the plaintiff in the lawsuit was involved in a car accident a month before the alleged “Snapchat” incident.
As for Snapchat, the company does have a warning that appears when you first use the speed filter, which states, “Please do not snap and drive.”