A 47-year-old motorist has died after driving his Jeep off a collapsed bridge in the US. The widow blames Google Maps for the accident and is now taking the internet company to court.
Ridiculous situations often arise when drivers rely too much on their navigation system. They get stuck in narrow Italian streets, bounce down stairs in their car or end up in a metro station. But in the US state of North Carolina, an apparently similar case turned fatal when a man drove over a bridge that had collapsed years earlier.
On September 30, medical device salesman Phil Paxson returned home from a camping party celebrating his daughter’s ninth birthday. According to the New York Times Google Maps would have led him over a bridge that collapsed in 2013 and was never repaired. Because the weather was stormy and Paxson was not known in the area, he drove off the bridge into the river.
No update for nine years
The next day, police found the body of the 47-year-old man in the jeep in the water. There were reportedly no fences or warning signs along the road leading to the collapsed bridge. According to Paxson’s widow, Google Maps was negligent by not updating the app for nine years.
According to the lawsuit, several people alerted Google Maps to the bridge collapse in the years before the 47-year-old’s death and asked the company to update its data, according to the New York Post. According to legal experts, the lawsuit is interesting because the outcome determines the extent to which GPS developers can be held liable in fatal or non-fatal accidents.
Hikers get lost
Google Maps has previously come under controversy because it is said that… makes hikers get lost. Mountaineering Scotland, a climbing organization, and the John Muir Trust, a charity that maintains nature reserves in Britain, have warned in the past that Google Maps can direct hikers to trails that take them over cliffs and rocky, dangerous terrain.
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