The New York Times reports The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) on Monday issued a safety recommendation asking 11 technology and delivery companies, including Apple and Google, to include grade crossing information in their navigation apps.
Grade crossings are locations where railway lines are at the same level as the road. The NTSB made the recommendations following their two-year investigation into an accident that occurred after a truck driver got his vehicle stuck on railroad tracks, after following directions given by Google Maps.
Jose Alejandro Sanchez-Ramirez misinterpreted information from his Google Maps app, and wound up with his truck, which was towing a trailer, stuck on a poorly marked grade crossing. Sanchez-Ramirez was forced to abandon his vehicle, and a train struck it, causing the death of an engineer, as well as injuring 32 others.
NTSB investigators believe a lack of warning in Google Maps, driver fatigue, and a lack of signage at the crossing all contributed to the accident. The board says there were more than 200 fatalities at grade crossings in 2015 in the U.S.
Apple and a number of other companies — including Google, Microsoft, and others — have agreed to add the data to their maps, but have not announced a specific date for completion. The companies have been the focus of lobbying by The Federal Railroad Administration, asking them to add the data, for the last 18 months.