We all know the dangers of distracted driving. Just sending one little text, like an "LOL" or "On my Way" from behind the wheel can have life-altering consequences. In fact, it's those little human lapses in judgement that help make self-driving cars safer than humans driving cars.
But distracted driving is a bigger problem than you can fathom. In 2014, more than 1.3 million people were injured in car crashes, with 431,000 of them caused by distracted driving.
So not only do mobile phones in the car pose a threat with texting, there is also the matter of taking selfies while driving, live streaming drunk driving, and now, Snapchat is to blame for a crash that led to serious and permanent brain damage of one individual.
Back in Sept. 2015, 18-year-old Christal McGee was driving through town around 11:00 at night. She was using the popular messaging app Snapchat, when she decided it would be a good idea to utilize the "Speed Filter," which shows your miles per hour, to share with her friends how fast she was driving.
To make matters worse, Snapchat actually encouraged users to post high travel speeds to earn points towards a Snapchat "trophy."
The MPH or Speed Filter looks like this:
According to the lawsuit filed, McGee wanted to show her social network she was going fast, so she ended up pushing her Mercedes to above 100 MPH in a 55 MPH zone.
McGee then crashed into victim Wentworth Maynard at an estimated 107 MPH, who was just beginning his shift. Maynard suffered serious and permanent brain damage, spent five weeks in the hospital, lost 50 pounds, and can't work anymore. He's now in a wheelchair and can't function on his own.
To make matters even more icky, McGee was still updating on Snapchat after the crash, posting a photo of her in the ambulance with blood dripping down her face with the caption "Lucky to be alive."
Since the crash, petitions have shown up on Change.org asking for the filter to be removed from Snapchat. Meanwhile, the lawsuit is seeking financial damages for the lifelong care and medical bills Maynard faces from both McGee and Snapchat.
Maynard's attorney, Michael Terry noted in a release about the case:
"Snapchat has an obligation under the law not to place dangerous items into the stream of commerce, and they have a responsibility to act reasonably to take steps to eliminate risks associated with their products.”
Want to know more about the specifics of the case? You can download the full complaint in PDF form by clicking here.
If you're concerned about the teen drivers in your life, share this story with them. There's also an app you can download to monitor their driving habits to help keep them safe. Click here to get it now.