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The New Texting and Driving: Snapchat

In the blink of an eye, Wentworth Maynard from Georgia and his wife found their lives changed forever when a young woman using Snapchat rammed into their car. The woman, Christal McGee, was allegedly traveling 107 miles per hour. Passengers in the car say they were begging McGee to slow down and report she actually got the car up to 113 miles per hour. The speed limit on the road was 55 miles per hour.

McGee was using Snapchat, which is similar to texting, with a few unique features. It has a filter that allows drivers to snap a photo or video of themselves with an overlay recording the speed they are traveling and send it to a friend. Each use of Snapchat gives the person using it points and more points are added when the traveling speed filter is used. The photo or video disappears shortly after it is sent, so no permanent record is kept unless the person receiving it takes a screen shot of the post.

Consequences of Snapchat

Maynard suffered permanent brain damage due to a traumatic brain injury caused by the crash. He and his wife have now sued both the driver of the car that hit them. They are also suing Snapchat for having a dangerous product on the market and keeping it on the market even though it had notice that the screen shot with the traveling speed overlay was responsible for many other accidents.

For example, in 2015, just a few days before Christmas, a Philadelphia driver had just sent a Snapchat photo of herself driving 73 miles per hour when she ran into a parked tractor trailer filled with herbicides. The trailer exploded and caught the car on fire. The driver and her two passengers were all killed.

A Snapchat spokesperson refuses to discuss any of its cases, but has said that Snapchat provides a warning to its users telling them not to activate the speed function while driving.

Drivers who drive negligently are responsible for the harm they cause to others. In addition, manufacturers of dangerous products may be held to pay for harm that is caused when people use them ineffectively. Snapchat’s claim that its product came with a warning may not be enough to absolve it from liability.

Lawyers around the country, including the experienced personal injury attorneys at Campbell & Associates, are paying close attention to the outcome of this case.  Contact us today for your free consult at 704.333.0885 if you believe you were injured in an accident caused by a driver while using Snapchat.

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