Family of man who died because of Google Maps sues tech giant

By Charlie Sawyer

Published Sep 21, 2023 at 12:41 PM

Reading time: 1 minute

Philip Paxson drowned on 30 September 2022 after Google Maps led him below a collapsed bridge, resulting in him crashing into a creek and getting stuck inside his vehicle. Paxson’s family are now suing Google for negligence.

According to The Guardian, state troopers in North Carolina found Paxson in his overturned pickup truck beneath a bridge that had collapsed nearly a decade earlier—the 47-year-old was dead at the scene. Paxson was returning home from his daughter’s ninth birthday before the accident.

In a Facebook post addressing the fatal crash, Paxson’s mother-in-law wrote: “It was a dark and rainy night and he was following his GPS which led him down a concrete road to a bridge that dropped off into a river. He will be greatly missed by his family and friends. It was a totally preventable accident. We are grieving his death.”

In response to the crash, Google made a statement: “We have the deepest sympathies for the Paxson family. Our goal is to provide accurate routing information in Maps and we are reviewing this lawsuit.”

Allegedly, a number of people have tried to bring the collapsed bridge to Google’s attention—due to the seriousness of it being omitted from Maps. However, Google supposedly never responded to the multiple claims.

It’s completely unbelievable to think that someone could lose their life simply because of the fact that a GPS system hasn’t been properly updated. It’s also not the first time something like this has happened.

Death by GPS is so common that there’s even a Wikipedia page dedicated to it. The phrase has now also been incorporated into forensic and legal cases.

Google Maps has never been considered to be a very ‘good’ navigation system, but the fact that there were zero warning signs attached to a collapsed bridge and dangerous road is seriously not okay.

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