Woman Gets Run Over While Walking On Highway, Sues Google For Bad Directions

A company logo is placed on the roof of the Google building in Zurich

I’m a Google devotee. The company is far from perfect, but they make products that work and make my life easier. So I hate it when I hear about stupidity like this. Because these sort of lawsuits don’t just hurt companies like Google. They hurt all of us by forcing companies like Google to be less innovative and daring in the products they offer us.

You know those warning labels on those chemical packets that come in new shoes that say ‘do not eat’. Have you ever wondered why they have to print something so stupidly obvious?

Enter Lauren Rosenberg of Park City, Utah. She used Google Maps on her Blackberry to get walking directions from one part of town to another. Part of those direction included walking on a road without sidewalks called Deer Valley Drive, aka Utah State Route 224.

According to court documents, instead of finding a different route or walking safely away from traffic, she walked into the street and was (surprise!) struck by a car. Now she’s suing Google for in excess of $100,000.

Oddly enough, my wife and I actually used Google’s walking directions this holiday weekend to find our way around a strange town during our vacation. While the directions we got were perfect and got us right to where we wanted to go, I did comment to her about this warning message we got when Google gave us our route:

Walking directions are in beta. Use caution – This route may be missing sidewalks or pedestrian paths.

Unfortunately, I guess, that message only appears on the computer version of Google’s direction search. Not the mobile search. Because if they had to put that message on the mobile search, there would be no room for the map. So Google apparently made the mistake of trusting in the common sense of the public.

Now they’re going to pay the price in legal fees. And possibly a legal settlement to this woman should she win her case. But that’s the world we live in now. Everyone is a victim. Run up too much credit card debt? You’re a victim of the credit card company. Buy more house than you could afford? You’re a victim of the the “predatory” mortgage lenders.

Follow your GPS out into traffic? Why, you’re a victim of Google.

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Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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