Uber driver Maynard Wentworth is suing Snapchat and teenager Christal McGee following the September 2015 car crash that caused his traumatic brain injury.
McGee was behind the wheel of her father’s white Mercedes at 11:15 p.m. on Thursday, September 10, 2015, when she decided to play a dangerous game created by makers of the Snapchat app.
Snapchat has a filter that allows users to take a picture recording their speed of travel. McGee reached 113 miles per hour on a suburban Atlanta road where the speed limit is 55. She hit the Uber driver at 107 miles per hour while trying to take a selfie.
The crash caused Wentworth to suffer “permanent brain damage.” Consequently, Wentworth and his wife are suing Snapchat for negligence, claiming that the app was equally responsible for the cause of the crash because despite the numerous accidents previously caused by the filter, the makers of the app did not delete it. Wentworth argues that the filter encourages users to speed and use their cell phones while driving, creating extremely unsafe road conditions.
According to a statement, McGee was driving some of her friends home from work, including one friend who was pregnant. Despite the pregnant passenger’s objections, McGee continued to accelerate in order to capture a selfie that showed her speeding, which would award her a “trophy” on the Snapchat app.
The 18-year-old was just about to post the picture on Snapchat when she collided with Wentworth’s car. McGee then posted a selfie on Snapchat as she was carried away by paramedics, back boarded, wearing a neck brace, with blood trickling down her forehead.
Among teen nighttime crashes, 58% occur between 9 p.m. and midnight. Snapchat, a popular app among American teens, is being recognized as yet another factor leading to distracted teenage driving.
As an Uber driver, Wentworth was a high-risk victim, for his job requires him to spend many long hours on the road, especially at night.
In addition to fair wages, safety is one reason union organizers are trying to create a “solidarity organization” for New York Ciy Uber drivers who currently do not have the legal right to unionize. The new association will be called “ALLES,” in reference to a line from the German national anthem, “uber alles,” which translates to “over all.”