Monday, May 31, 2010

Google sued over pedestrian accident

It isn't often that I have a hard time coming up with a headline for a blog post, but this particular news story which I read via is a bit too easy to meet with a knee-jerk attitude.

First, I support the right of individuals to sue corporations (or individuals) for irresponsible activity which leads to injury.  This is where I diverge from much of the pop culture/AM Radio shock jock ridicule of lawsuits directed at corporations.  There are times when a company releases dangerous goods which should have been tested better or publishes instructions which don't adequately disclose the risks of a product.

So the question is whether posting pedestian directions  which include the stretch pictured the image above was irresponsible on Google's part.

My own opinion is that Google should win this lawsuit, and that if the woman who brought the suit wanted to really target those responsible she should really sue whatever governmental body is responsible for this roadway.

IANAL (I am not a lawyer) so I can't comment on an informed manner about the legal responsibility beyond stating that Google includes a disclaimer on their pedestrian routes

But my fear is that lawsuits like this help unleash the attitude that we as a people shouldn't walk anywhere, shouldn't encourage others to walk anywhere, and that our state and local governments shouldn't be held responsible for the lack of safe pedestrian accomodation on roadways.

The problem here isn't that Google provided the woman with a route from point A to point B.  The problem is that those responsible for designing the highway didn't take into account the fact that walking is a reasonable use of a route funded, designed, and maintained by the government.

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