Snapchat named in lawsuit by man hurt in distracted driving crash

Speed Filter blamed for 107-mph crash that left one man brain damaged.

The messaging app Snapchat was named in a lawsuit brought by a man who suffered a traumatic brain injury in a car crash his lawyers say was caused, at least in part, by one of the app's special features. They cite the app's 'speed filter' as partly to blame for the catastrophic incident that left Wentworth Maynard permanently brain damaged. Maynard's car was allegedly hit by Christal McGee's Mercedes-Benz as she was using the app's 'speed filter' on her phone while driving on a freeway in Atlanta, GA.

"McGee wanted to post an image of herself going fast. She argued that she was, 'Just trying to get the car to 100 miles per hour to post it on Snapchat,'" Maynard's lawyers told KCRA. The app has a special filter which will overlay the speed the person was traveling when the photo was taken. A passenger in McGee's car told police that the pair were traveling at 113 mph when they struck Maynard. Police put the speed closer to 107 mph - in a 55 mph zone.

While attempting to take a selfie at ridiculous speeds, McGee failed to notice Maynard's car merging onto the freeway. Her car struck Maynard's so violently that his vehicle ended up shooting across all four lanes of traffic and into the median. Maynard spent five weeks in intensive care after the crash, and now suffers from a severe brain injury. He can no longer walk without the use of a walker and he is unable to work. McGee was also injured in the crash, but not so critically that she couldn't send another Snapchat from the ambulance, this one of her covered in blood with the caption 'Lucky to be alive.' Maynard's legal team is seeking damages to help with his extensive medical bills.

Maynard's lawyers say the filter is inherently unsafe. The usefulness of such a feature on an app like Snapchat may be debatable, and it likely will be in court. What's not debatable, though, is that distracted driving is a real killer. In 2014, 3,179 people were killed, and 431,000 were injured in distracted driving crashes, according to A scary statistic, when you consider that at any given time, 660,000 drivers across the US are using their phones while behind the wheel.

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