The great thing about modern technology is that it makes our lives easier, well, most of our lives that is. For some, it would seem, technology just adds another layer of confusion into the whole living their life thing. Take the many cases of people apparently having to do exactly what their satellite navigation system tells them, without giving any thought to what that might actually be. I've written about stupid satnav users before here on DaniWeb, such as the Australian chap who turned right when directed and failed to spot this was not a highway turn off but the entrance to a building a site where he proceeded to drive his sports utility vehicle up some stairs and crashed into a toilet. Or the London Ambulance Service crew which, instead of taking a patient on a 30 minute and 12 mile trip between hospitals, ended up driving for 200 miles and 8 hours in the completely wrong direction for that matter?
But the strange case of Lauren Rosenberg surely does take the biscuit. According to reports the woman was using Google Maps together with a 'walking route' while walking in Utah, and it told her to walk along "Deer Valley Drive" which turned out to be the sidewalk-less Utah State Route 224. Perhaps unsurprisingly she was hit by a car, although the lawsuit arising from the incident was a little more unexpected as she is suing both Google and the car driver for damages in excess of $100,000 as a result.
It's perhaps bad enough that someone out walking on such a major road, and one without sidewalks, should be suing the driver who was, by all accounts, driving a car on a road without the expectation of someone being out for a stroll. But to then throw Google into the mix is truly bizarre, claiming that it is at fault because Google Maps failed to warn her that there were no sidewalks.
Apparently, according to the lawsuit, the defendant expected Google to provide accurate directions and "as a direct and proximate cause" of it's "careless, reckless, and negligent providing of unsafe directions" she was hit by the car.
I take issue with this, not least as the technology cannot reasonably be expected to replace good old fashioned common sense, or even a modicum of thought, on behalf of the user. Quite apart from the fact that Google Maps makes it clear it is in Beta and the user should use with caution as routes may be "missing sidewalks or pedestrian paths".
The attorney representing Rosenberg in this case, Allen K. Young of Young, Kester and Petro, told Danny Sullivan who broke the story that "it was 6 in the morning" and "it was not a busy street [then]. She believed there was a sidewalk on the other side". Young adds that "it was pitch black" and "Rosenberg "relied on Google that she’d cross there and go down to a sidewalk".