Sunday, March 18, 2012

Couple May Receive Fine After GPS Led Them on Train Tracks

By amtrak_russ – CC BY 2.0, Image Link

In yet another example of people following GPS to places where anyone with an ounce of common sense wouldn’t go, a couple in Illinois drove on the Metra tracks after the GPS allegedly told them to drive up a ramp used by Metra workers. The couple were in separate vehicles, following each other and while one vehicle got off the tracks, the other was struck by a train, causing a delay during rush hour.

According to the DNA Info article, the married couple were likely attempting to get on to the Kennedy Expressway at North Avenue and instead took the ramp onto the Metra tracks, where the SUV was hit by a train. No one was injured, but the incident delayed around 200 passengers for around three hours while the SUV was towed and the tracks checked for damage. The couple were reportedly given a ticket for trespassing, which is a class C misdemeanor in Illinois.

Now, to me, the interesting thing about this otherwise unremarkable story is the trespassing ticket. Let me clarify that while I’m certain this isn’t the first time such a ticket has been given after an offense, it’s one of the first times I’ve seen it mentioned in one of these “dumb GPS” stories. After all, the tales of people getting stuck or stranded somewhere are virtually endless, but it’s not common that anyone really thinks about the repercussions other than looking stupid on the internet.

Additionally, reading some of the feedback on this incident (which is mostly from angry passengers who were delayed three hours), it seems like most people are actually calling for the minor criminal charge—if not something worse. Personally, I find myself slightly divided on it. It’s hard to believe that such an accident could really be anything other than someone just not paying attention, but at the same time I’ve been guilty of making wrong turns too—just not onto train tracks. I’m sure that the couple will dispute the tickets and blame GPS, but we all know that’s nonsense. Your GPS didn’t get you lost—your lack of common sense did. So who is to blame?

Rather than me going on and on about it, what do you think? Is a misdemeanor going too far? Not far enough? Share your thoughts in the comments below!


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