Woman sues Google because of bad directions

A Utah woman walked into the middle of a highway and was hit by a car.

One day I was using my cell phone's GPS service to find the nearest Target. I was driving down the road when suddenly my cell phone piped up, "Turn right here." I looked to the right. There was no road, just a tree and some grass. I chalked it up to a GPS glitch and turned right at the next corner.

If I had been Lauren Rosenberg, however, I would have turned right at that very moment, hit the tree, suffered some cuts and minor brain damage, and then turned around and sued Verizon for the glitch in its GPS service.

Seriously.

Rosenberg, a Los Angeles, California, native, is suing Google because Google Maps issued directions that told her to walk down a rural highway. She started walking down the highway--which had no sidewalk or pedestrian paths--and was struck by a car. She is suing Google for her medical expenses ($100,000), as well as punitive damages. She is also suing the driver who struck her, Patrick Harwood of Park City, Utah.

On January 19, 2010, Rosenberg was apparently trying to get from 96 Daly Street, Park City, Utah, to 1710 Prospector Avenue, Park City, Utah. She looked up the walking directions using Google Maps on her Blackberry. Google Maps suggested a route that included a half-mile walk down "Deer Valley Drive," which is also known as "Utah State Route 224."

There's not much more to say--she started walking down the middle of a highway, and a car hit her. Who wouldn't have seen that one coming?

According to Rosenberg's complaint filing:

"As a direct and proximate cause of Defendant Google's careless, reckless and negligent providing of unsafe directions, Plaintiff Lauren Rosenberg was led onto a dangerous highway, and was thereby stricken by a motor vehicle, causing her to suffer sever permanent physical, emotional, and mental injuries, including pain and suffering."

Google actually does offer up a warning about its walking directions--if you view Google Maps on a computer, it gives you the following message: "Walking directions are in beta. Use caution--This route may be missing sidewalks or pedestrian paths."

This warning does not show up in PDA's and cell phones, however. I suppose Google figured that people who are smart enough to use Blackberries are probably also smart enough to not walk directly into the middle of traffic.

For the record, when I look up driving directions from my current city (San Francisco, California) to the city I grew up in (Tokyo, Japan), Google Maps suggests I kayak across the Pacific Ocean (with a rest stop in Hawaii, of course).

I can't wait until Ms. Rosenberg tries to travel overseas ("The plaintiff was unaware that attempting to kayak 5,100 miles is an unreasonable endeavor").

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags GPSGoogle MapsRIM BlackBerry

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Sarah Jacobsson

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?