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Thursday, 12 May 2016
So here is the headline I saw in the news last week! Snapchat at 107 M.P.H. Lawsuite Blames Teenager (and Snapchat)
OK ... I admit, I'm a baby-boomer - and NOT in the current controlling culture of the millennials but really, this latest story is very hard to believe on a number of angles.
Even in the age of social media, this particular selfie seemed extreme: a teenager strapped into a gurney, with blood running down her forehead, somehow taking the time to tap out a message to her Snapchat friends: "Lucky to be alive."
The selfie quickly went viral and is a component of a lawsuit filed by a Georgia man accusing the teenager, Christal McGee, of recklessly using Snapchat while driving over 100 miles per hour and slamming into his vehicle last year, leaving him with severe injuries. He is also suing Snapchat, accusing the company of negligence.
After the accident, lawyers for the man, Wentworth Maynard, distributed the photo of Ms. McGee on the gurney, leading the police to open an investigation into the crash.
According to a police report, Ms. McGee, who was 18 at the time, was driving with three friends in a Mercedes-Benz around 10 p.m. on Sept. 10 in Hampton, Ga. She and her friends maintain that Mr. Maynard's vehicle drifted into their lane, and then Ms. McGee crashed into his car. She lost control and ran off the road.
Mr. Maynard sustained a "severe traumatic brain injury," his lawyer said. The police were not able to interview him that night because of his injuries, they said. Neither driver was immediately cited for a traffic violation.
Mr. Maynard and his wife filed the lawsuit on April 19. It says that Ms. McGee began using a Snapchat "lens" that clocks the speed of vehicles, attempting to push her car to higher and higher speeds.
An accident reconstruction determined that, at the time of the collision, Ms. McGee was driving 107 m.p.h., the lead lawyer in the lawsuit, Michael L. Neff, wrote on his website. He also published photos of the teenager's selfie and of both cars after the accident, showing the white Mercedes Ms. McGee had been driving with a smashed front end and Mr. Maynard's Mitsubishi with a demolished left side and back end.
In a telephone interview, Mr. Neff declined to say how he obtained the Snapchat selfie.
"Wentworth Maynard began a five-week stay in the intensive-care unit, where he was treated for a severe traumatic brain injury," Mr. Neff wrote on his website. Mr. Maynard and his wife are suing Snapchat and Ms. McGee to recoup all costs associated with the accident and his injuries.
The crash has become a high-profile case in the debate over distracted driving, a growing problem largely attributed to people who can't put down their electronic devices while they're behind the wheel. Because of the dangers associated with driving while distracted, experts are pushing to treat it - and, in some cases, penalize it - like drunken driving.
"It's dangerous, devastating, crippling, and it's a killer and still socially acceptable," Candace Lightner, the founder of Mothers Against Drunk Driving and a founder of Partnership for Distraction-Free Driving, told The Times.
Attempts to reach Ms. McGee were unsuccessful. In an interview, her grandfather James McGee said that the teenager had also been seriously injured in the crash, and that her family believed Mr. Maynard was responsible for the accident.
"He pulled his vehicle out in front of them," Mr. McGee said, "not giving them enough time to stop. Now they're trying to lay the rap on her."
Mr. McGee said that since the accident, Ms. McGee had graduated from high school and wanted to join the Air Force, but her plans had been delayed because of the crash. She is working part time at a home improvement store, he said.
Her grandfather added, "It's a big setup for somebody who is young and innocent."
Mr. Maynard's lawsuit accuses Snapchat of motivating drivers to use the filter to receive a "trophy," one of the app's badges given to users after they complete a task. According to Snapchat, the service has never offered trophies for high-speed driving.
A Snapchat spokesman emailed this statement: "No Snap is more important than someone's safety. We actively discourage our community from using the speed filter while driving, including by displaying a Do NOT Snap and Drive' warning message in the app itself."
Chief Mark Harris of the Lovejoy Police Department, one of several law enforcement agencies that operate along the road on which the crash occurred, said on Monday that Ms. McGee hasn't been charged with speeding partly because there had been conflicting reports from her passengers about how fast she was driving. But the police have opened an investigation into the crash after reports said that Ms. McGee had been using Snapchat, Chief Harris said.
"We didn't know anything about Snapchat," he said.
The Police Department is trying to verify the speed, he said, adding that Mr. Maynard may also have committed a moving violation by changing lanes without signaling.
So Snapchat offers you the opportunity to clock your speed in a Snapchat recording while you're driving your vehicle. As I have said before, we are giant proponents of "Do not TEXT while you drive" .... I guess we should add this to our comments: "Do not TEXT or SNAPCHAT or USE YOUR PHONE while you drive!" Somewhere along the way, we have forgotten what a person behind a wheel can do with that machine called an automobile. We take for granted our safety by texting, take pictures, do makeup, read books on the phone and the list goes on and on. Hopefully, we can all get back to just driving a car when we are behind the wheel and nothing more. At least that's our hope here at Benton White Insurance!!
We want safety considered on all fronts and when we insure someone, we, along with the customer, hope they will never have to use the insurance. But if they do, we'll be here to help. Let us know if we can help you. EMAIL us at info@BentonWhite.com or call any of our staff at 615.377.1212. We're here and ready to earn your business ... AND encourage you to just drive a car when you are behind the wheel - and nothing more!
[Portions of this blog article taken from an article: "Snapchat at 107 M.P.H.? Lawsuit Blames Teenager (and Snapchat)" by Katie Rogers from www.nytimes.com, May 3rd, 2016]
Posted on 05/12/2016 2:56 PM by Benton White
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