Google Maps app now warns about railroad crossings

(WTNH)–The Federal Railroad Administration estimates about 270 people are killed at railroad crossings every year. Now, new safety measures are being put in place to try and decrease that number.

In the new future, Google Maps, the GPS APP on your smart phone device will start pinpointing nearly every railroad crossing in the country when you use that app.

It was just months ago, that Alan Brody spoke to News 8 at the spot where he lost the love of his life earlier this year. He says his wife, Ellen Brody, was taking a detour home and was unfamiliar with the area in Valhalla, New York and ended up driving her SUV onto the tracks and then got stuck. Her vehicle was then hit by a train. She and five people on the train were killed.

Brody feels his wife had no warning that the tracks were even there other than signs that were almost a century old.

An ex-Metro North employee was glad to hear the news that Google Maps will add the feature alerting you when a rail road crossing is approaching. Dan Callahan says, “I think it’s a good app to throw on the phone because it’s needed.”

Some question why this step took so long especially considering what you can already see.
Mike Pounds says, “Google has billions of dollars, so you’d figure they would’ve come up with that sooner.
You can zoom in and see your own car in the driveway and that’s pretty interesting.”

Alan Brody tells News 8 the FRA and the MTA have made a fetish of avoiding modern technology. He says this step is a baby step in making sure people have proper warning that they’re approaching a train or tracks.

According to USA Today, Federal regulators have made similar requests of MapQuest, TomTom, Garmin and Apple. Callahan says, “I think if they hear it coming on their phone, they’re going to be more prompt because more people are on their phone than anything else.”

US Senator Richard Blumenthal said our rail-grade crossings are based on technology and practices from the 19th century. He’s hoping for many more changes ahead.

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