Do you ever wonder why absolutely everything has warning labels and liability clauses attached to them? Warnings like "Do not use while sleeping" on hair dryers are absolutely needed because many people today exhibit an exuberant lack of common sense.
Take Lauren Rosenberg for example, who innocently enough used Google Maps on her Blackberry to get walking directions from one part of her Utah town to another. Google provided these, telling her as part of the route to walk for about 2 miles along the serenely-named “Deer Valley Drive.” However, that is simply an alternate name for the short section of road which is actually Utah State Route 224, which as you can imagine, isn't a place for people to be taking a daytime stroll. Instead of finding an alternate route or walking safely back to her home, Rosenberg decided that Google knows best and meandered onto the highway which had no sidewalk or pedestrian paths.
Surprise! She was hit by a vehicle and is now 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. Here's an excerpt from Rosenburg'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."
If you do a walking directions search from a laptop or computer on Google, you get one of those hair dryer warnings:
"Walking directions are in beta. Use caution – This route may be missing sidewalks or pedestrian paths."
Even Microsoft's Bing has a similar warning when using their walking directions:
"Caution, this route may be missing sidewalks or other pedestrian paths."
The problem with Rosenburg was that she was using a blackberry screen which only has a limited amount of space. If Google were to put any kind of warning on her screen, where would there be room for a map and directions? It seems Google has learned its lesson not to put faith in the common sense of the people. Not walking out into a busy street was a skill I learned in Pre-School.