The FRA and Google Team Up to Make Railroad Crossings Safer Says Lee, Gober & Reyna

August 5, 2015 | News

Austin, TX (Law Firm Newswire) August 5, 2015 – Mobile devices are responsible for thousands of deaths across the country. In an attempt to prevent these accidents, Google and the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) have teamed up.

What do railroads and Google have in common? Mapping. The FRA has data relating to railway crossings and is allowing Google and other mapping and technology companies to access their GPS coordinates for over 250,000 railway crossings at road-level across the U.S.

The idea is to reduce accidents at railroad crossings by adding visual and audio alerts to mobile navigation systems. Google is the first company to have agreed to put such a system into play but other companies are apparently lining up to be involved in the project as well, such as Garmin, TomTom and Apple.
“This may seem like an odd partnership, but it’s not. Texting while driving has become an epidemic, and accordingly there has been an increase in the number of railway crossing accidents between vehicles and trains,” said Bobby Lee, a well-respected Austin personal injury attorney. During the last five years, collisions between cars and trains have risen sharply from 1,934 accidents in 2009 to 2,280 in 2014, according to the FRA.

Railway safety advocate organizations, such as Operation Lifesaver, also cite e-devices as the cause of numerous collisions between cars and moving trains. Joyce Rose, Operation Lifesaver’s president said the accidents are due to drivers “either being distracted by electronics, or not paying attention to the warning signs.” For further information on crossing collisions and casualties by year visit: http://oli.org/about-us/news/collisions-casulties
It is a given that mobile devices distract drivers, whether that is in the midst of traffic or while they are heading toward a railway crossing. The consequences of not paying attention when approaching railway tracks may be especially deadly.

Texting while driving killed 3,154 drivers in 2013 according to the Department of Transportation. “Those are 3,154 people who would still be alive today had they not been texting, surfing, taking selfies, video chatting, accessing social media or sending emails. One wonders what is so important that it cannot wait until later when the driver is not on the road,” Lee said.

One bizarre aspect of using GPS directional guidance to get from point A to point B is turning out to be a killer, literally. There have been a number of fatal accidents involving drivers so wrapped up in following GPS instructions that they do not pay attention to flashing lights and warning bells and inadvertently turn onto a set of train tracks with an oncoming train on them.

“Another aspect of this partnership between technology giants and the FRA is that it is possible that GPS systems are not correctly announcing the distances to turns, thus prompting a driver to turn onto a set of train tracks. It is possible that train warnings, mapped into GPS system may help to prevent these collisions,” Lee said.

However, nothing is going to be able to override poor driver judgement. Twenty-five percent of car-train accidents are the result of drivers bypassing safety gates and trying to race through the crossing to beat the train. The train usually wins. The car driver does not.

To learn more, visit http://www.lgrlawfirm.com

Lee, Gober & Reyna
11940 Jollyville Road #220-S
Austin, Texas 78759
Phone: 512.478.8080

  • Motorcycle Collisions Commonly Occur at Intersections
    Motorcycle fatality statistics for Texas show that there were 500 deaths in 2014. There are more than 440,000 mopeds and motorcyclists registered in the Lone Star State, and the number shows every sign of increasing rapidly. The higher the numbers, the more often there are motorcycle accidents involving serious injuries or death. Law enforcement sees far too many motorcycle accidents and knows what causes the vast majority of the collisions — often, drivers simply do not see the bikers. Even if a motorcyclist is driving safely and taking care to watch the road and other drivers, they cannot factor in […]
  • Possible Distracted Driver Causes Fiery Crash
    I-20 and mile marker 156 near Stanton, Texas was the recent scene of a horrific crash that sent one vehicle up in flames. It happened at about 4:00 p.m. According to eyewitness reports and what the police were able to piece together, a pickup truck, heading east on I-20, veered out of the east travel lane, crossed the center median and ran straight into a big rig heading west. The head-on impact instantly killed 32-year-old James Alexander of Abilene and injured the trucker, Alfredo Varela. It was not clear whether Alexander had been driving while distracted, under the influence or […]
  • Fourth Time DUI in Colorado Now a Felony
    Drunk driving is a major concern in all states and many are now moving to make repeat offenders face even stiffer penalties. In Colorado, lawmakers have passed a measure that would create a felony charge for DUI/DWI offenders. House Bill 1043 permits a felony charge to be laid in cases where there is a fourth drunken-driving offense over a lifetime. The first time the bill was run through the legislature, it suggested that the felony charge be laid when there is a third offense. That idea did not garner much support and it languished until Rep. Beth McCann, D-Denver, brought […]
  • Oklahoma May Have the Right Idea to Ban All E-Device Usage for Drivers
    Beginning November 1, it will be illegal to text, post on social media or email while driving in Oklahoma. This ban is extended in Tulsa, where city employees will no longer be able to use any mobile device while on the job and driving. The ban is intended to cover any mobile device, including hands-free models. According to the National Safety Council (NSC), who conducted more than 30 studies on this issue, hands-free phones do not provide any safety benefit while driving. The rationale behind the all-inclusive ban is that all mobile devices are a distraction, as use of any […]
  • Charges of intoxication manslaughter and driving without a license in an accident in which two children died
    Three victims made it out of this accident alive, but only barely. Crystal Draper and her two sons remain in hospital recovering from critical injuries sustained in a horrific wreck caused by an inebriated driver. Kirsten Draper, 10 and Koby Draper, 15 died at the scene of the accident caused by 45-year-old John Alvaredo. Kris Draper, 13 and Kody Draper, 16, along with their mom, were immediately rushed to the nearest hospital for emergency medical care. They were listed in critical but stable condition. Police charged Alvarado with driving without a valid license and two counts of intoxication manslaughter. Arrest […]

Tags:

Comments are closed.

Flickr Digg Yahoo! Technorati MySpace Delicious RSS