Despite Snapchat’s “Do NOT Snap and Drive” warning, an 18-year-old girl pushed pedal to the metal, hitting 113 MPH before slamming into another car.
Christal McGee was using the app’s “speed” filter, which uses GPS technology to determine how fast the user is moving, to record how fast she was driving in a car with three friends on the evening of Sept. 10, 2015, in Hampton, Georgia.
“This is a product liability case because Snapchat put something very dangerous in the marketplace without any warnings or safeguards, and basically said, whatever happens, happens,” one of the lawyers representing the couple said.
According to the lawsuit, “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.”
She hit Maynard’s car from behind at 107 mph, the lawsuit states.
“The passenger in McGee’s Mercedes saw the speed on the Snapchat filter hit 113 miles per hour,” the Maynard’s lawyers added. “McGee said, ‘I’m about to post it.’ At that moment, the passengers saw the Mitsubishi ahead and screamed.”
McGee and her passengers were treated for minor injuries. The foolish teen allegedly continued Snapchatting after the crash, writing “lucky to be alive.”
Maynard, a former Uber driver, spent five weeks in intensive care and was treated for a severe traumatic brain injury. He spent another six weeks in the hospital’s step-down and acute rehab care and is now finally able to get up out of bed and feed himself. Still, he’s often confined to a wheelchair because of his inability to remain steady on his feet and cannot be left alone so family members have stepped in to care for him.
“Wentworth would get up on his own, make his breakfast, go to work and cook dinner,” Mrs. Maynard said of her husband.
“Now he’s so tired he falls asleep in his wheelchair during the day,” she continued. “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 must be asked to what extent Snapchat weighed the risks of its miles per hour filter before releasing it as a product into the stream of commerce,” Maynard’s lawyers said about why the social media app is also named in the lawsuit. “Did its developers consider the impact it could have on the life of someone like Wentworth Maynard?”
A Snapchat spokesperson fired back, saying, “No Snap is more important than someone’s safety. We actively discourage our community from using the speed filter while driving, including by displaying a ‘Do NOT Snap and Drive’ warning message in the app itself.”
(Photo: Dietrich Rose/Corbis)