The family of a man who died after driving his car off a collapsed bridge while following directions from Google Maps is suing the technology giant for negligence.
Philip Paxson, a father of two from North Carolina, drowned last year when his Jeep plunged 20ft into a river from a bridge that collapsed nine years ago.
His family alleges that Google Maps directed him across the bridge as he was driving home on an unfamiliar route from his daughter’s ninth birthday.
Alicia Paxson, his wife, said: “Our girls ask how and why their daddy died, and I’m at a loss for words they can understand because, as an adult, I still can’t understand how those responsible for the GPS directions and the bridge could have acted with so little regard for human life.”
The lawsuit, filed in the US, claims multiple people had told Google that the bridge in the town of Hickory had collapsed and the route was no longer safe, the Associated Press reported.
The court filing includes emails from another local resident who had used Google’s “suggest and edit” feature in September 2020 to warn the company about the danger.
In November 2020, Google confirmed it was looking into the change but the lawsuit alleges no action was taken.
The lawsuit also named several local property companies that it alleges were responsible for the nearby land and the bridge.
Local police had previously said that the developer behind the bridge had been dissolved. They also said there were no barriers or warning signs around the bridge at the time of the incident.
A Google spokesman said: “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.”