top of page

A Snapchat Feature Parents Should Know About

Late last year, an 18-year-old girl named Christal McGee was driving her father’s white Mercedes when she pulled out her phone and opened up the Snapchat app. Snapchat, the popular messaging app loved by youth, offers a feature that allows users to record their speed of travel. McGee thought it would be a good idea to let her Snapcat friends know that she was driving 113 miles per hour on a road outside Atlanta where the speed limit is 55.

The aftermath of this terrible decision was that her car struck and seriously injured Maynard Wentworth, an Uber driver who was just starting his shift. Wentworth was hospitalized for months and has since suffered permanent brain injury as a result of the accident.

While Snapchat offers some awesome features we love, this “miles per hour” filter is not one of them. Introduced with a product update in 2013, this particular filter applies a real-time overlay on photos and videos, showing the speed the user is traveling. For many young people, especially those newly behind the wheel, using it can be irresistibly appealing.

To make this story even worse, McGee posted a picture of herself on Snapchat just moments after this accident, letting her Snapchat friends know she was okay. She took a "selfie" showing herself strapped into a gurney with blood running down her forehead.

She wrote: “Lucky to be alive.”

The following comes from

In the Age of Distracted Driving

1.3 million people were injured in car crashes in the U.S. in 2014. Of these, 431,000 were injured due to distracted driving, i.e., driving while your attention is on something else. The ubiquity of smart phones adds to the potential for distraction. AT&T released a study last year estimating that nearly 4 in 10 smart phone users interact with social media while driving.

We know it’s a problem. We even know it’s dangerous to walk and use a smart phone; state legislators regularly introduce bills to limit this behavior. New Jersey assemblywoman Pamela Lampitt made such a move, proposing a $50 fine for walking on public roadways while using your cell phone.

If there is concern for smart phones and public safety at the level of the pedestrian, why would Snapchat create a filter that encourages users to showcase their speed?

That's a good question.

(Image from

bottom of page