Phones have long been a distraction to drivers, but Snapchat's speed filter is proving an especially dangerous diversion. The filter records how fast your phone is traveling and shares it with your friends, and users can earn "trophies" on the app for posting their speeds. You can easily see how that could lead to bad things, and now Snapchat is being blamed for a serious car accident that occurred last September while the 18-year-old driver was using the speed filter.
The lawsuit Maynard and his wife have filed implicates Snapchat in the accident, claiming that the company has known about the filter's role in previous accidents and failed to remove the dangerous product from the market. Christal McGee was allegedly using Snapchat while driving in Atlanta, and according to a passenger in her car, at one point hit 113 mph as recorded by the app's filter. At the moment she struck Wentworth Maynard's car, which had just merged onto the four lane highway, McGee was traveling at 107 mph. The road's speed limit was 55.
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Maynard sustained a severe traumatic brain injury and spent five weeks in intensive care. His lawyers say he is now unable to work (he had been an Uber driver) and can only get around with the help of a walker or wheelchair. McGee was also injured in the accident and even took a Snap of her bloodied face while she was in the ambulance.
Though only time will tell if that claim will stick, the filter does already warn people not to use it while driving. Young people have been showing off for their friends by speeding since the invention of cars, and while technology has provided them with new and terrifying ways to do that on a larger scale, it's now up to the courts to decide if an app can be blamed for one driver's spectacular poor judgment.
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