On September 10th at 11:15 PM, 18-year-old Christal McGee and three of her friends were using Snapchat while driving her dad’s Mercedes. McGee became distracted as she was trying to use one of the app’s filters. Snapchat allows users to add filters to their pictures while sending a text. The filter McGee was using showed her current speed at the time of the accident. McGee was trying to take a photo with the filter reading 100 miles per hour.
As she sped down the four lane Georgia highway, she failed to notice Wentworth Maynard, an Uber driver who was merging into the right lane. McGee slammed into Maynard’s Mitsubishi Outlander at 107 miles per hour causing his vehicle to be pushed into the far left lane and embankment. McGee’s passengers claim they saw the Snapchat filter read 113 miles per hour right before the collision.
Maynard suffered traumatic brain injuries and was rushed to the emergency room. As for McGee, her and her friends suffered minor injuries and continued to snap images with the caption “Lucky to be alive.”
Maynard was hospitalized for five weeks and lost 50 pounds due to the accident. He has since been placed in a wheelchair with his family being his primary caretakers.
A statement from his wife said, “Wentworth would get up on his own, make breakfast, go to work, and cook dinner.”
“Now he’s so tired he falls asleep in his wheelchair during the day. 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,” she continued.
There are multiple instances where others have you used the same filter and have crashed due to its distractions. Maynard’s lawyers are claiming that the filter is encouraging the use of distracted driving and Snapchat is partially responsible for the accident.
A spokesperson from Snapchat said they actively discourage their community from using the speed filter while driving and also place a warning on the filter to not drive while “Snapping.” But this begs the question as to why even create such a filter in the first place? The filter should be removed because it encourages the younger demographic to use their phones while driving.
Maynard and his family are suing both McGee and Snapchat for negligence.
The U.S. Department of Transportation stated that in 2013, ten percent of all drivers 15 to 19 years old involved in fatal car accidents were reported to be distracted while driving. This age group holds the largest percentage of distracted drivers.
It’s even more sobering to hear that ten percent of fatal accidents and 18 percent of personal injury crashes were reported to be the causes of distracted driving.
We must all do our part and share the dangers of distracted driving. Sending a text, taking a picture or answering your phone is not worth risking your life or the lives of others on the road.
As a Seattle auto accident attorney, I find it devastating to hear about these types of cases. If you have been injured due to the negligence of someone who was distracted while driving, call our office at 206-285-1743 to schedule your free consultation.