Lawsuit Accuses Snapchat Of Negligence For Speed-Capturing Filter

On the list of dangerous and distracting activities you should not be doing while driving, Snapchatting behind the wheel is definitely up there, as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has been reminding everyone this month on social media with the #justdrive hashtag. Nevertheless, the lure of a Snapchat filter that displays your speed can prove too strong for some drivers, resulting in at least one accident.

A recently filed lawsuit [PDF] accuses Snapchat of negligence for the speed capturing filter that allows app users to record their speed of travel while walking, running, and, unfortunately, driving.

According to the lawsuit, an 18-year-old woman was using the Snapchat video filter in September 2015 when she slammed into an Uber driver’s car at 107 mph in a 55 mph zone. He suffered a traumatic brain injury and was hospitalized for months, and now needs a walker or wheelchair to get around and cannot work, the complaint says.

The plaintiff’s lawyer says in a statement (h/t The Washington Post) that the woman was driving friends home from work in her father’s Mercedes c230 at a local restaurant in a suburb of Atlanta, with her phone in hand, when she started driving fast. One of her passengers, who was pregnant, objected, and asked her to slow down.

But the woman was “caught up in Snapchat,” using the miles per hour filter. She “wanted to post an image of herself going fast,” the statement reads. “She argued that she was, ‘Just trying to get the car to 100 miles per hour to post it on Snapchat.’ ”

The statement says the driver was just about to post the video when she crashed into the Uber driver’s Mitsubishi. She later posted a photo of herself strapped to a backboard in a neck brace, with blood trickling down her forehead, with the caption, “Lucky to be alive.”

The lawsuit alleges that Snapchat bears equal blame for causing the crash, because the company didn’t delete the filter from the app even after it was cited in similar accidents prior to the September 2015 crash.

“On and before September 10, 2015, Snapchat knew that wrecks had occurred due to the use of Snapchat’s app while driving at high speed,” the lawsuit reads. “Despite Snapchat’s actual knowledge of the danger from using its product’s speed filter while driving at excessive speeds, Snapchat did not remove or restrict access to the speed filter.”

In a statement to CNN (warning: link contains video that autoplays), Snapchat declined to comment on the pending lawsuit but said that app has a warning not to Snapchat while driving.

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