“Minor” mistakes in Google Maps can cost lives
The family of a North Carolina man who died filed a lawsuit against Google this week. Relatives claim the company was grossly negligent when it allowed its Maps app to steer a man’s car onto a collapsed bridge, causing him to crash to his death.
Philip Paxson, a 47-year-old father of two, was driving home from his daughter’s ninth birthday on September 30, 2022, when Google Maps allegedly suggested he drive his Jeep Gladiator across a bridge that collapsed in 2013.
“He followed the GPS, which led him along a concrete road to a bridge that had fallen into the river. The bridge was destroyed 9 years ago and never repaired… There were no barriers or warning signs that would have prevented the death of the 47-year-old father of two daughters,” Paxson’s mother-in-law wrote on Facebook at the time.
State police responded to the scene and found Paxson’s body in Snow Creek and confirmed there were no guardrails or road signs. Paxson drove off the edge of the bridge and fell 20 feet to his death. The complaint alleges that Google failed to keep Maps updated in a timely manner, which allegedly led to his death. The lawsuit also names the owners of the destroyed bridge.
“For years before this tragedy, Hickory residents asked for the road to be fixed or properly fenced before anyone was hurt or killed. Their demands remained unanswered. We found that Google Maps had been incorrectly directing motorists like Mr Paxson to this destroyed path for years, despite receiving complaints from the public demanding that Google correct its map and directions to designate the road as closed. Phillip’s widow, Alicia, is determined to do whatever it takes to get justice and ensure that something similar to this tragic nightmare does not happen to another family,” attorney Robert Zimmerman wrote in a press release.
Author: Andrii Rusanov Publication date: 21.09.2023
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