A questionable Snapchat filter that lets users show off their speed while taking a selfie is being blamed for a serious car accident that left a man with traumatic brain injuries after being struck by a driver going over 100 MPH, according to a new lawsuit. The victim and his wife are now suing the teen driver, alleging her high-speed selfie-taking caused the crash.
According to a report on KTLA News, Christal McGee took the ill-fated selfie while driving on a four-lane highway outside of Atlanta using Snapchat’s ‘Speed’ filter, which shows how fast you are going while taking the picture, a feature that for some reason exists.
Lawyers for plaintiff Wentworth Maynard say McGee’s argument was “she was just trying to get the car to 100 miles per hour to post it on Snapchat.”
McGee was traveling at 107 MPH when she struck Maynard’s Mitsubishi, sending the car careening across the left lane and into an embankment, according to Maynard’s lawyers. The speed limit on the highway was 55.
McGee, evidently a dedicated Snapchatter, even took a selfie in the ambulance, trussed up and covered in blood, with the caption “lucky to be alive.”
According to usage statistics, 60 percent of Snapchat’s U.S. userbase is under 25, with its largest single demographic group being those aged 18-24 (37 percent). According to the CDC, drivers under 20 have the highest proportion of fatal distracted driving-related auto crashes.
In 2013 alone, the CDC says, 3,154 people were killed in auto accidents involving a “distracted driver” — drivers engaging in activities like texting, web surfing and eating while driving. That’s eight people a day, 365 days a year.
Is this seriously what we’ve been reduced to? The need for likes or hearts or thumbs-ups has become so deeply ingrained that drivers are risking life and limb to acquire them? It’s bad enough that we have to share the road with people wantonly texting while driving, but now we have to worry about some narcissistic selfie-taker putting our lives at risk for the sake of racking up a three-digit speed on their Snapchat filter. Ugh.
When reached by email, a Snapchat spokesperson offered the following response. “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.”
Editor’s note: Story has been updated to include comments from Snapchat