In September 2022, a heartbreaking incident occurred in Hickory, North Carolina, where Philip Paxson lost his life while attempting to cross a damaged bridge, Following Google Maps
His family believes that Google is partially responsible for this tragic accident, as they failed to update their maps to reflect the fallen bridge, which had occurred nearly nine years earlier.
Philip Paxson, a loving father of two, was on his way home from his daughter’s ninth birthday party at a friend’s house. He found himself in an unfamiliar neighborhood, as his wife had already taken their daughters home, and he stayed behind to help clean up.
To navigate the unfamiliar roads, he relied on Google Maps, trusting it to guide him safely back to his family.
Tragically, in the darkness and rain, Philip followed Google’s outdated directions, unknowingly heading towards what locals had dubbed the ‘Bridge to Nowhere.’ He collided with the damaged bridge, plunging into Snow Creek, where he ultimately drowned.
According to the lawsuit filed in Wake County civil court, local residents had repeatedly informed Google about the bridge’s collapse in 2013. Yet, the online maps remained unchanged.
Additionally, the suit also targets three local companies, arguing that they had a responsibility to maintain the bridge.
Philip’s wife, Alicia Paxson, expressed her grief and frustration, especially when trying to explain the tragedy to their daughters. She questioned how those responsible for GPS directions and the bridge maintenance could have shown such disregard for human life.
In response to the lawsuit, a Google spokesperson stated that they deeply sympathize with the Paxson family and are committed to providing accurate routing information in Google Maps. They are actively reviewing the allegations.
This tragic incident serves as a poignant reminder of the importance of up-to-date information in navigation systems and the devastating consequences that can result from outdated maps.