What you need to know
- The National Transportation Safety Board has asked Apple, Google and others to add railroad crossings to their mapping services.
- It believes it could help prevent accidents that result in causalties as more people than ever rely on them.
- More information for drivers is always better goes its argument.
The National Transportation Safety Board has asked Apple, Google and Microsoft to add railroad crossings to their mapping services as a safety measure. However, none of the companies have obliged since the board first made its plea three years ago, reports Politico.
Here's what the report states:
A representative for the Federal Railroad Administration said that the inaction by the companies is "tantamount to gross negligence."
Beside the three big tech giants, the NTSB also asked GPS providers Garmin, TomTom, Inrix, Omnitracs and UPS to add railroads crossings to their mapping service.
Google was the one of the companies that respond to the story by Politico:
Though the request by the NTSB is understandable, this does raise the interesting question about driver awareness. It's not like roads across the country don't make it clear that a railroad crossing is ahead with grade crossing signal systems that block the road and flash lights to alert drivers.
At some point, it is up to the driver to pay enough attention—either by seeing these warnings or listening to the noise by the oncoming train—to decipher that a train is about to pass. Unfortunately, this is clearly not enough to prevent accidents, but at the same time, if these means aren't as effective, how much will incorporating them into a mapping services help out?
Of course, if companies like Apple and Google did add them, it would be welcomed just the same. It just might not be as sweeping as the NTSB believes it could be.
I could see a useful implementation: When you are about 10 seconds away from crossing a railroad crossing, you get a beep and popup reminding you: Railroad Crossing 300 feet ahead. This gives you some advance warning to: Slow down
Scan left to right before you cross the tracks
Plan ahead to not come to a stop on the tracks in case of traffic.
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