Three in four women admit to texting and driving. Nearly one in five British drivers admit to taking a selfie while driving. And now a popular Snapchat filter is reportedly being blamed for a car crash in Georgia.
The Snapchat filter tracks a user’s speed in real time and offers a “trophy” icon when that user reaches or exceeds a certain speed. According to a report from CNBC, on September 10, 2015, Christal McGee, an 18-year-old woman, crashed into another car while trying to reach a speed of more than 100 mph. At the time of the crash, she was going 107 mph in a 55 mph speed zone.
As a result of the accident, a lawsuit has been filed that alleges the Snapchat filter encourages reckless driving: “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.’”
The suit also alleges that the makers of the popular app were aware of the dangers associated with the filter: “On or before September 10, 2015, Snapchat knew the fact that certain users were driving at excessive speeds while using Snapchat created an unnecessary danger to the public.” Prior to the crash, a petition on the website change.org called for Snapchat to remove the filter.
Though Snapchat has refused to remove the speed filter, their terms of service states, “We also care about your safety while using our Services. So do not use our Services in a way that would distract you from obeying traffic or safety laws. And never put yourself or others in harm's way just to capture a Snap.”