Is it dangerous to follow our smartphones blindly? It seems so. And it’s not Philip Paxson’s family who would contradict us. In fact, it has just filed a complaint, on September 19, 2023, before Wake County (North Carolina), as relayed in particular Free Midday on September 21, 2023. That was a year ago. In September 2022, Philip Paxson was returning from his daughter’s birthday party. He had activated Google Maps, not being familiar with the local roads. His race ended in the stream of “Snow Creek”, where he drowned. Indeed, the Hickory bridge, which the application told him to take, had collapsed, and had been doing so for 9 years already. In the dark and in the rain, the motorist blindly trusted his application. He should not have. But how come no signage prevents access to the “bridge to nowhere”, as the locals call it? According to the local daily The Charlotte Observer on September 20, 2023, the security barriers preventing access to the bridge were absent on the day in question, after being vandalized.
Local residents had warned Google multiple times, family says
Philip Paxson’s wife takes the internet giant to courtas well as three other local companies, supposed to maintain the bridge, or at least, secure the perimeter around it by using lights for example, continues The Charlotte Observer. The complaint states that local residents had warned Google on numerous occasions of the collapsed bridge and the need to update their map in order to offer “secure and navigable roads” to users. Google would never have responded to their requests and the map would still not have been updated in April 2023, seven months after Paxson’s death, according to the family’s lawyer, cited by the local daily. It is also the residents who have taken care of securing the area since then, by putting up barriers at the scene of the death of the 47-year-old motorist.
One failure of Google Maps among others
This is unfortunately not the first time that Google Maps is responsible for considerable damage. In 2016, Lindsay Diaz’s house is destroyed by mistake by a demolition company in Texas. According to professionals, it is Google Maps who would have taken them to the wrong address, one street apart. Less serious and rather funny, in June 2019, Google Maps provides a shortcut for motorists who want to get to the Denver airport. This is howaround a hundred vehicles found themselves on an impassable road right in the middle of a field. Regarding the complaint filed by the widow of Philip Paxson, one of the spokespersons for Google affirmed that it was under examination, specifies Free Midday.