With standard GPS features now installed in most new model vehicles, car crashes, injuries, and deaths related to GPS systems are on the rise.
Faulty GPS Systems
Although vehicle GPS systems provide helpful information for drivers, they create increased risks for serious accidents and injuries. In the United States, GPS systems account for more than 200,000 accidents each year. Common causes of accidents include faulty navigation maps, wrong locations, inaccurate directions, and distracted driving.
While older GPS systems may provide inaccurate or outdated information, newer systems are much more distracting to drivers. A malfunctioning GPS that sends a driver to a wrong location or gives a driver inaccurate directions may put the driver at an increased risk of harm. Recently, an Illinois driver following directions on an outdated GPS drove off a demolished bridge at night, sending the car down 40 feet and killing the driver when the car burst into flames.
There are numerous accident reports related to faulty GPS systems that malfunctioned or provided wrong information and endangered drivers. Many accidents were also attributed to distractions caused by GPS features and Google navigation maps. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 25 to 30 percent of all motor vehicle accidents in the United States are caused by driver distractions. The NHTSA names GPS navigation systems as one of the worst in-car electronic devices for distracted driving. NHTSA studies show that programming a GPS while driving makes a driver 23 times more likely to crash.
While a GPS can steer a driver down a dangerous path, the driver may still be liable for the accident. A driver is responsible for paying attention to road conditions and traffic signals. If a GPS sends an inattentive driver the wrong way down a one-way street, it’s the driver’s responsibility to ignore the GPS directions. If a driver takes actions that clearly violate laws, the driver may be held liable for any injuries or wrongful deaths caused by that decision.
If a GPS system fails or malfunctions due to a manufacturing or programming defect, and the defect causes injuries, a car accident lawyer can pursue a personal injury claim or negligence lawsuit against the manufacturer, if the manufacturer knew about the defect but did nothing to correct it or warn consumers of the danger. Under federal consumer protection laws, a manufacturer has a duty of care to ensure the safety of their products.