Has this ever happened to you?
You get invited to a party. You punch in the address in your car’s navigation system or handy-dandy smartphone GPS app. You follow the instructions and…wham! You hit a building wall that the maps say is suppose to be a road. Or a stream that suppose to be a bridge according to nav system. Or you find yourself teetering precariously at the edge of a cliff that’s suppose to be an onramp to a shortcut. So whom do you blame for all these predicaments? Remember the Jackson song, “Man in the Mirror”?
Don’t even think about suing the manufacturers of the GPS units or the companies that provide the maps. First off, you agreed to use common sense when using the device. Remember that warning message that pops up when you first turn on the navigation system? The one that said “Agree”? Selecting that button is like signing a contract. You sign, you whine, and it will be your lawyer who’ll be fine with all the fees you’ve paid them fighting in court. Says lawyer Venkat Balasubramani, “Regardless of where you get your directions, you as a driver have some basic responsibility to avoid hazards on the road and keep your eyes open.”
Again, “basic responsibility” is all that common sense stuff you learned back in driving school. You remember, right? Keep your eyes on the road, pedestrians go first, etc. Driving is a privilege, as the saying goes, which means you have certain obligations as well. That means if you see a tree in front of you but the gps says go through it, you’re suppose to swerve around it. Or stop. Or…well, you get the idea. Insurances will help you fix the car (or your body, if you did crash) but expect them to start looking over your file for possible hikes. “It’s your duty to follow the rules,” points out lawyer Lynette Hoag.
Finally, systems like Google Maps are provided free of charge. At least one court has ruled consumers cannot sue services providing such services since they’re providing an unpaid service. The normal rules of commerce, or between a buyer and seller, then, do not apply. Companies that do provide paid services, of course, have contracts that limit their liability (see above about “Agree” button).
Automotive.com’s take: Common sense, folks. Exercise it next time the navigation systems says go forward and all you see is a cliff.
Source: Fox Business