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

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread

  1. icon
    Technopolitical (profile), 1 Jun 2010 @ 1:47pm

    Only with copyright does somebody feel entitled to insist that others not share the things they like and enjoy.

    "Only with copyright does somebody feel entitled to insist that others not share the things they like and enjoy."

    Ans: the Artist CREATES the ART.
    The Artist control any FULL use , 100 %.

    Artists have the RIGHT to totally grant ( or not grant) use , AND to control 100 % that use PRIVILEGE -- except for parody and fair use.
    That is the Basics of copyright Law.

    ( "fair use" is a partial excerpt , in most cases ,, academic citation , or for education purposes,, and etc ,, as cited in law.)

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter

Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Techdirt Gear
Show Now: Takedown
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads


Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.