A Georgia man injured by a distracted driver recently filed a distracted driving lawsuit against the messaging application (app) “Snapchat.” The lawsuit claims that the app promotes distracted driving and was a contributing factor in the 2015 accident that caused him to sustain serious brain injuries when he was hit by a driver distracted by the app, USA Today reported.
Plaintiff and Uber driver Wentworth Maynard is also suing the 18-year-old girl who struck his vehicle while traveling 107 mph and left him with permanent brain damage. The teenager was using Snapchat’s popular speed filter when she crashed into Maynard.
The speed filter adds the drivers speed to a selfie– a photo a person takes of one’s self — taken while driving. Users are rewarded with an online trophy for posting their speed. The teen also shared a post-accident, bloody-faced selfie captioned “lucky to be alive.”
Snapchat’s speed filter promotes distracted driving and encourages teenagers to engage in dangerous and potentially deadly behavior. The teen was purposely trying to reach 100 mph when she struck Maynard and his wife, who was also in the car at the time, and sent him across the left lane of the highway into an embankment, according to KAAL TV.
“The issue really is about distracted teenage drivers,” said Maynard’s Lawyer in the USA Today article. “It’s about Snapchat encouraging teenagers to drive at fast speed for social status.”
Maynard’s lawyer also said “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,” according to Daily Report.
Tech Crunch reported that 60% of Snapchat’s user base is younger than 25 years-old. Thirty-seven percent of all users are between 18-24 years-of age.
EndDD.org, a nonprofit organization dedicated to ending distracted driving through free educational programs, reported on a recent AAA study that suggested that distracted driving account for 58% of all car crashes caused by teens. Twelve percent of those accidents involved cell phone use.
Maynard spent five weeks in the hospital following the accident. He’s unable to work, care for himself, or get around without a walker or wheelchair. Through his lawsuit, he is seeking compensation for medical expenses incurred as a result of the accident
A petition on Change.org is calling for Snapchat to remove the speed filter feature.