Woman Sues Google After She Follows Google Maps Directions And Gets Hit By A Car

from the personal-responsibility? dept

There have been plenty of stories over the years of drivers blindly following their GPS over a cliff or onto railroad tracks. After doing such things, it may be natural for the driver to blame the technology, though it's unlikely to help you out much in court. However, it appears that one pedestrian has taken things a step further. After using Google's "still in beta" (for a good reason) "walking directions" while trying to get somewhere in Park City, Utah, she found herself on a highway, where she was hit by a car. So, in response, she's suing both Google and the driver of the car. Danny Sullivan explores the issue in much greater detail at that link, and comes to the same conclusion I assume many of you already jumped to: at some point, you just have to assume some sense of responsibility if you're the pedestrian. Sullivan pops out the following two Street View images showing the road in question, and wonders why the woman didn't realize that this road was not designed to be crossed. The first photo is of the intersection she would come to before crossing (note: no crosswalk):
And then, if she did manage to rush across that street, this is what she would see on the other site:
At some point, common sense is supposed to kick in and the pedestrian says, "hey, this is not designed for walking."

But, the woman who filed this lawsuit seems to want to blame everyone else for her own decision to try to cross a street that is obviously not for pedestrian crossing. In fact, the full lawsuit seems to contradict itself at points, since it seeks to blame both the driver who hit her for driving too fast... but at the same time seeks to blame Google for putting her on "a roadway that exhibits motor vehicles traveling at high speeds, that is not reasonably safe for pedestrians."
If the road itself involved cars that were too fast for pedestrians, then why is she also blaming the driver for driving too fast? On top of that, the lawsuit asserts that Google should have known that the road was not designed for pedestrians. Which leads me to ask a simple question: if this woman, who was standing on the side of the road herself didn't make that judgment, despite all the evidence in front of her, why does she assume that some routing algorithm at Google should have reasonably known that fact?

In the end, this looks like yet another case of a Steve Dallas lawsuit, where a big company is sued for someone's own mistakes, because that big company has lots of money.

Filed Under: blame, directions, google maps, walking
Companies: google

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  1. icon
    Dark Helmet (profile), 1 Jun 2010 @ 9:21am

    Re: Re: Re:

    "But like you claim, there must be a cutoff somewhere, where the main burden falls on the person giving the instructions rather than the person following them. Where is that cutoff point, though?"

    How about at the intent of the advice giver? Not perfect, but certainly would work in this case....

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