Google sued after man drives off collapsed bridge using Maps

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A North Carolina man’s family has filed a lawsuit against Google, alleging that the company was negligent in allowing its Maps application to direct the man to drive off a collapsed bridge, where he plunged 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.

According to the lawsuit, Paxson followed his GPS directions down a concrete road to the bridge, which had no barriers or warning signs. He drove off the unguarded edge of the bridge, crashing roughly 20 feet below and drowning in Snow Creek.

The lawsuit alleges that Google was grossly negligent in failing to update its Maps application to reflect the collapsed bridge. It also claims that Google had received complaints from other motorists about being misdirected to the collapsed bridge, but failed to take action.

Paxson’s wife, Alicia, is suing Google for wrongful death and negligence. She is also suing Tarde, LLC, James Tarlton, and Hinckley Gauvain, LLC, who are identified as the owners of the neglected collapsed bridge.

“Our girls ask how and why their daddy died, and I’m at a loss for words they can understand because, as an adult, I still can’t understand how those responsible for the GPS directions and the bridge could have acted with so little regard for human life,” Alicia Paxson said in a press release.

In addition to the Paxson family’s lawsuit, there have been other reports of Google Maps misdirecting motorists to dangerous or impassable roads. In one case, a group of tourists in India were led by Google Maps to a remote mountain road that was closed due to landslides. The tourists were stranded for several hours before being rescued.

The sources for this piece include articles in Gizmodo and BBC.

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