The Snapchat App: Encouraging Distracted Driving More Then Ever

Snapchat’s “speed filter” – a screen filter that tells the user how fast he or she is moving at the time of the snap – has led to more and more people getting into distracted driving accidents. Even though the Snapchat filter warns users to never to try the speed filter while driving, users disregard the warning and try to see how fast they can go. Now people are suing Snapchat for negligence, for not taking the filter down after it caused accidents.


Before the release of the speed filter, Snapchat has been under fire before for causing distracted driving. As the generation of teenagers who grew up with mobile devices takes to the roadways, more and more distracted driving injuries and deaths are occurring. Snapchat allows users to send pictures, videos, or texts to friends that will disappear seconds after sending.

As Snapchat continues to grow in popularity, people are checking the app multiple times per day, showing their friends where they are and what they’re doing. Unfortunately, this habit has spread into mobile use while driving – and not just while stuck in traffic.

Snapchat’s speed filter seems to encourage people to clock their activities at dangerous speeds. Users wish to impress their friends with snaps at excessive speeds – while skydiving, skiing, driving, and more. Even though Snapchat is aware that the filter has caused numerous accidents, the company continues to leave it up without restricting its use.


In December 2015, three Philadelphia women in their 20s died in a fiery crash, evidently caused because the driver was trying to Snapchat her speed with the speed filter. The driver, Amonie Barton, had been snapchatting the trio’s whereabouts all day, at a bar and a house party. Since snaps disappear instantly, there is no way to know for sure whether Barton was in fact using the speed filter at the time of the crash. However, family members claim to have seen her speed filter snap right before the accident.

Barton was speeding down Torresdale Avenue with her two friends in the vehicle when the black Camaro slammed into the back of a semi-truck carrying herbicides, which burst into flames. All three women were pronounced dead on the scene. Now the families of the women are angry with Snapchat for developing a filter that encourages speeding and distracted driving, and they are suing the company, because they want others to recognize the app’s dangers.

In another recent Snapchat driving accident, Christal McGee of Atlanta was using the speed filter to try to see how fast she could go while driving on a four-lane highway with a few passengers. The speed filter clocked her speed at 113 mph before she struck the vehicle of an Uber driver, Maynard Wentworth. Distracted by the app and driving at incredibly unsafe speeds, McGee was unable to stop in time to avoid striking the other vehicle.

Now, Wentworth is suing McGee and Snapchat for damages. He suffered a traumatic brain injury, putting him in the hospital for five weeks and leaving him unable to walk without assistance. McGee and her passengers suffered no permanent injuries. Although Snapchat has a warning message to users the first time they use the speed filter app, Wentworth believes the company should have taken the app down after previous crashes occurred, and he is suing for negligence.


If you’ve been involved in an accident involving a distracted driver, don’t hesitate to call us at Hill & Associates, P.C. and speak with a Philadelphia car accident attorney for legal representation. Distracted driving should never go without legal ramifications. Contact us today for a free consultation regarding your specific case.