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DWS: Driving While Snapchatting Is a Bad Idea

By Christopher Coble, Esq. on May 03, 2016 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

There's a time and place for everything, and it's called college. There's also a time and place for Snapchatting, and it's not while traveling 107 mph on a suburban road at night with your two passengers begging you to slow down. Because that's when you go barreling into another car, giving that car's driver serious permanent brain injuries, and get yourself and Snapchat sued in the process.

But how is an innocent Millennial supposed to know she can't Snapchat and drive, when the app has a filter that allows users to record their speed while Snapchatting?

The Fast and the Filter

Christal McGee was using Snapchat's speed filter in her dad's Mercedes on the way home from work, allegedly topping out at 113 mph on a suburban Atlanta road with a speed limit of 55. Her co-worker passengers, one of whom was pregnant at the time, pled with her to slow down, but she wanted to hit 100 mph on the app first.

That's when McGee's car struck that of Wentworth Maynard, an Uber driver just beginning his shift. According to Maynard's attorney, "[h]e was in a coma and spent five weeks in intensive care. He has a brain injury that is permanent. His wife is having to take care of him."

Can't Stop the Selfie

Maynard and his wife filed a lawsuit against both McGee and Snapchat, claiming, "Snapchat's speed filter facilitated McGee's excessive speeding. McGee was motivated to drive at an excessive speed in order to obtain recognition through Snapchat by the means of a Snapchat 'trophy.'" Snapchat denies it ever offered trophies for high-speed driving, and points to its terms of service, which read: "Do not use our Services in a way that could distract you from obeying traffic or safety laws. And never put yourself or others in harm's way just to capture a Snap."

For her part, McGee was unfazed by the accident. Although she was unable to officially Snapchat her speed (due to plowing into someone else's vehicle), she was able to snap this gem:

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