The family of Philip Paxson, a North Carolina resident, has initiated a lawsuit against Google, alleging that its Maps application led him to drive off a collapsed bridge, resulting in a fatal fall of approximately 20 feet in September 2022. The lawsuit contends that Google Maps directed Paxson over an unmarked and unbarricaded bridge, which had collapsed years earlier, as he was returning home late at night from his daughter’s birthday party.
CD Law’s Take on the Case- Miguel Custodio
“Given the circumstances in this case, there are obvious reasons that this tragedy occurred, although it shouldn’t have,” commented firm co-founder and personal injury attorney Miguel Custodio. “The state of North Carolina failed to provide proper bridge maintenance and marking, while Google Maps failed to update its system. Cases like this underscore the importance of marking poorly conditioned bridges.”
“Philip faced several unfavorable factors, including darkness at night, a bridge in need of repair, and the absence of markings and barricades on the bridge,” Miguel said.
Despite resident warnings and requests for updates, the application continued to direct drivers to the hazardous bridge. The lawsuit also implicates Alphabet, Google’s parent company, and two local firms responsible for bridge maintenance, barricades, and warnings, alleging negligence and willful misconduct. The family is seeking unspecified punitive damages. In North Carolina, 5,415 bridges still require repairs.
A Similar Accidents Cause by a Google Maps Error
The road hazards persist with a tragic bus accident in New York state that resulted in the fatalities of two longtime teachers, Gina Pellettiere and Beatrice Ferrari, and injuries to several students. The incident involved a bus carrying 40 students and four adults from Long Island’s Farmingdale School District to a Pennsylvania band camp. According to New York state officials, the bus veered off the road and plummeted 50 feet into a ravine.
Who is Regency Transportation LTD.?
Subsequent investigations revealed that the bus was operated by Regency Transportation Ltd., a company that had been classified as an “unacceptable operator” by the state due to multiple safety inspection failures dating back to 2022. Records from the New York State Department of Transportation indicated that Regency Transportation Ltd. had failed five out of 15 safety inspections during the state’s 2023 fiscal year. The department conducts over 150,000 safety inspections annually as part of its bus safety program.
“Unacceptable buses must not operate on our roads, without exception,” Miguel said. “Regency Transportation’s approval of this bus displays a profound lack of responsibility on their part. The company should have placed customer safety as its paramount concern, above financial considerations.”
Inspections Statistics of Regency Transportation
Notably, the bus involved in the crash was a recent addition to Regency Transportation’s fleet and had passed its initial inspection by New York’s transportation department in August 2023, including subsequent random roadside inspections since 2021. Bus operators with a 25% or higher out-of-service rate or vehicles failing inspections are categorized as “unacceptable” by the transportation agency. Regency Transportation Ltd. had a 33% rate during the state’s 2023 fiscal year.
Operators in the “unacceptable” category are mandated to undergo a minimum of two comprehensive safety inspections annually and may face various corrective actions, including violation notices resulting in civil penalties and the suspension or revocation of interstate operating authority, per New York’s transportation department guidelines.
Additionally, other buses operated by Regency Transportation Ltd. had failed seven safety inspections over the past two years, primarily due to issues related to braking systems, recordkeeping, and rear axle concerns.