Google Maps "directed man to drive off collapsed bridge"

Originally published at: Google Maps "directed man to drive off collapsed bridge" | Boing Boing


Well, good luck to them (and their lawyer with them) but google has a phalanx of lawyers and reams of “terms of service” (as well as “additional terms of service”)

Actual Conditions; Assumption of Risk. When you use Google Maps/Google Earth’s map data, traffic, directions, and other content, you may find that actual conditions differ from the map results and content, so exercise your independent judgment and use Google Maps/Google Earth at your own risk. You’re responsible at all times for your conduct and its consequences.


And in those nine years the local residents couldn’t be arsed to put up barriers or signs, or fix the bridge.

State troopers who found Paxton’s body in his overturned and partially submerged truck had said there were no barriers or warning signs along the washed-out roadway.


Only in America would people sue an on-line map rather than hold the local government accountable for not repairing the bridge or erecting proper barricades or even warning signs (if the photo in the article is to be believed).


the ap article said that indeed, it’s a private road owned by a defunct developer with no warnings or barriers.

i do feel like if i lived there, i’d have bought some rain barrels and set the out in the middle of the night ( so i wouldn’t get sued ) - maybe for some reason that wasn’t possible


from the AP story:

The North Carolina State Patrol had said the bridge was not maintained by local or state officials, and the original developer’s company had dissolved. The lawsuit names several private property management companies that it claims are responsible for the bridge and the adjoining land.

In the US we have so much failing infrastructure and we can always count on pushes to privatize public goods to make life worse for everyone


If this part of the article is accurate about “vandals” removing barriers, that could help explain how this happened. But I wonder how substantial the barriers were and long they were missing before the tragedy occurred.


Me too. It could have been some local teens at night.


That probably doesn’t hold up too well when it is both a private road that they shouldn’t be directing people to, anyway, and that they’ve been contacted about it for ten years. There’s a point where no amount of disclaimers is an excuse.


ah thanks. i missed that part

i could imagine that. there’s definitely an age where some kids might think that was funny without quite realizing how deadly it was. :confused:


Pretty nuts there are no signs or one of those concrete barriers.

I remember as a kid there was an old county bridge on a dirt road that was tore down or fell down, and there was just some old faded barriers blocking the road.


I wonder if dedicated GPS units, Waze (also owned by google/alphabet), apple maps, etc. route users over the collapsed bridge. If the answer is no, then the family may have a better case.


The root issue is that the mapping company incorrectly identified this private road as a public road. This is quite a problem in rural areas; I once had to drive an extra 200 miles when my GPS directed me to a road with a private gate across it. Sadly, I betcha we will see “AI water avoidance” systems false triggering in the rain, before this will be properly solved.


Waivers and disclaimers don’t eliminate liability if the plaintiff can show the defendant was negligent. Discovery on this case is going to be really important. How long ago was Google first notified that the bridge was out? Were they notified this was a private road, and if so, how long ago? If it turns out only one notification was sent to Google and it was just a month before the accident, then Google is probably going to be dropped from the lawsuit. There are still other defendants, the parties who should have been either maintaining the road and bridge or preventing access or ensuring adequate warning signs were in place. If, on the other hand, there were hundreds of corrections submitted to Google over 10 years and they did nothing, they’re probably going to break out their checkbook and ask how much to be dropped from the lawsuit.


35.781582457532494, -81.28295026335445

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See also: seasonal mountain roads and stream fords. When Apple Maps was first released I was sent toward a ford that was basically a river at that point. Fortunately, I was only 1/4 mile from a parallel road. Despite all of the outcry about Apple Maps, it’s the only issue I’ve had (except for constantly trying to send me across the George Washington Bridge. Not doing it, Siri!).


Google Earth has a slightly better view. I can totally see how someone could get lost in the neighborhood.

And the barriers seen in Google Earth are essentially right before the collapse, which is much too late. There obviously needs to be more signage earlier in the road, and not just makeshift obstructions on the road.

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well you answered @thomasta 's question:

bing clearly shows the road ends. ( and unlike google the satellite view also shows the broken bridge )


( eta: apple maps also only has a partial road )



That’s what I was thinking, how is this on Google? The city/town/county/whatever just left a collapsed bridge completely unblocked for a decade? Completely reckless.


Some half-assed barriers and signs removed by vandals. (Recently or years ago?)

Bridge or not, should Google be directing people down a private road? (Although that can get complicated if the county decides to cut costs and de-publics it.)