Driver blames GPS for putting her on train tracks; she and her kids get out before train hits

The remains of the car. Photo by Transit Police.Maybe don't take GPS directions so literally. Photo by Transit Police.

Transit Police report a Belmont woman followed GPS directions a little too closely last night - Her car wound up on the tracks of the Fitchburg Line:

Just prior to Hittenger Street the GPS indicated for the driver to take a right hand turn which she did. Unfortunately the right hand turn positioned her vehicle onto the railroad tracks, after attempts to drive off the tracks were unsuccessful the driver of the vehicle along with two minor children exited and moved away from the track area to a safe location. Shortly thereafter a MBTA Fitchburg bound commuter rail train struck the vehicle.

The T dispatched buses to take the roughly 70 passengers on the train the rest of the way.

Last year:
Woman claims GPS told her to drive on Beacon Street trolley tracks.



Free tagging: 



This lady is a real moron. If your GPS told you to turn right, you're just going to drive onto railroad tracks? I mean, wouldn't you first look for a road, or at least a driveway? Or perhaps drive a little further down the road so you could pull over and doublecheck your directions?

Am I giving people too much credit here?

Now that GPS company will get sued because of this woman's idiocy. Hence why products like irons have "do not iron clothes while wearing" instructions, because someone's tried it, and the company got sued.



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Well, it's lucky that she and her kids got out in time and that it was a commuter rail train that hit the vehicle. Give it a number of months and there's a good chance that it could be a mile-long train of ethanol-filled rail cars running into that car and potentially going up in flames.

Hey, harpers gotta harp.

Define many

There's a whole lot more cars struck than there is cars derailing trains. Even trucks don't commonly derail trains.

Or, she could have blindly

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merged onto an Interstate highway because her GPS told her to "keep left - take the freeway" and been sideswiped by a tractor trailer carrying gasoline. Said tractor trailer rolls over, starts leaking, one spark, and ....

The probability of this scenario happening, and resulting in an explosion and fire that impacts both adjacent property and critical infrastucture, is far far far more likely than your "doomsday ethanol train" fantasy.


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The drover certainly made an idiotic mistake but what does her uterus have to do with anything?

You really are ignorant

Genes are not the sole determinants of intelligence - or anything else for that matter.

You are clearly about a half century behind on the incredibly complex manner in which genes are expressed or not, and how they interact with other genes plus environmental and other cues to form phenotypes, etc.

I suggest you shut up now and stick to that which should be treated in a trivial manner - actual, you know, trivia? Even "high school" teaching and understanding of genetics is clearly way beyond your current understanding of how these things work.


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(I don't think any of the sources say these were her kids; I think Adam assumed that.)

Once she realized the car was stuck, she acted fast and SAVED A COUPLE OF KIDS' LIVES. Jeez.

Every parent and every adult makes mistakes. Most of us just don't happen to make ones that are so obviously our fault or so newsworthy. Dayum.

Death by GPS

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It's a thing.

Usually it's more of a problem in the desert, but apparently New England is not immune.

Over-reliance on technology + lack of situational awareness = Big Problems.

You can blame your GPS for sending you down the wrong side street. But you can't blame it for driving on railroad tracks.

I'd be scared to death to share the road with anyone who would actually do that.

Not that I suggest the

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Not that I suggest the innocent children deserve it, but, you know, natural selection worked for a long time in nature ...

(Ironically, the captcha for this is wasto guldrove, haha.)

yeah no kidding

Exactly how do you fail to notice you're driving down railroad tracks? How does driving down railroad tracks seem like a good idea?

You have to notice the tracks

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You have to notice the tracks *before* you drive on them.

Once you're on them, of course you're going to notice. But then it's too late, and your car is stuck, unless you have 4 wheel drive and high ground clearance.

Doesn't mean you know every street in town

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I live close to that area and never heard of Hittenger Street. If you don't drive often, then you won't know every side street and shortcut in your town. Or she could be a new resident.

Doesn't excuse driving on tracks though.

What the hell?

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This wasn't reliance on GPS. It was a total failure to maintain situational awareness.

There is a yellow RXR crossing sign that says RAILROAD on it, white painted RXR in the lane, the black and white traffic arm with flashing red lights on the side of the road, a white sign that says "don't stop on the tracks", black rubber track guide/cushions in the asphalt...AND the street she wanted was still 500 feet away!

How is she not responsible??

self-driving cars

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Google and others have been pushing self-driving cars as the savior of the world. Seems to me we already have cars that are being driven by the navigational system. There's just this fleshy piece in between the car controls and the brain of the GPS.

Computers are wonderful things, but ultimately they're programmed and told what to do by humans, so they're always going to be fucked up. Humans who think computers are infallible are the kind of people who would screw up programming a computer. And the people who wouldn't screw up the programming are probably going to want to do it for themselves and not trust that someone programmed the computer properly in the first place.

Not perfect, just better than people

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I don't recall google using the word savior anywhere - got a link that even comes close to that wording? In any case, the computer driven cars only need to be significantly better than people, not perfect. If a computer screw up kills 1 person per million miles traveled, and a human screw up kills 10 people per million miles traveled, who would you rather have driving?

stats please

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Randall O'Toole of the Cato Institute has expounded at length of how robocars will revolutionize transportation in the next decade. Google may not have the money quote, but that's what O'Toole is for.

Those are some great stats you have there. Exactly where do they come from and how many orders of magnitude are they from reality?

The point is computers can be as fallible as people and they've gotten so complex they certainly are capable of failing or acting unpredictably as often as humans. If I get crushed by a bus does it matter to me that it was driven by some guy have a psychopathic moment or a computer which has a bug or bad data entered?

We all love to blame people - witness the comments here about having this woman's reproductive parts removed -- who are we going to blame once it's all automated?

There's got to be a

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There's got to be a story/movie somewhere about a supervillain that pulls off the perfect murder by reprogramming the victim's gps...

There was an episode of Monk

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where the villian, after killing his business partner with a truck, sent a trucker all over the map on needless runs until the truck's tracking system reset and erased previous location memory.

The plan might have worked, but for the fact the victim's necktie was found in the truck's engine.

I forget the circumstances of how and why I saw this show, but that was one of only two episodes of Monk I ever watched.

There sorta was, but it was

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There sorta was, but it was far from perfect.

The Sontaran Stratagem

Series 4 of (new) Doctor Who eps.

What we have here is a

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What we have here is a failure to communicate. With this new founded reliance on gadgetry, people are surrendering their ability to think for themselves. This extends to all facets of life. People dont have to plan meals any more , you got the instant microwave. find anything you want instantly on E-whatever, download anything you want from i -Got it. Pay for it all on E-card, dont worry about thinking if you can afford it. There was a time when the nuns would hand you a piece of cardboard with all your arithmetic tables on it, and brother , you learned them. Now all kids have to worry about in school is the latest i - gizmo , or how to get some notice on u- tube. Society is morphing into some sort of tech driven circus. While i dig the advances in medicine, ( love that arthroscopy stuff ), there is alot of fluff out there. My fear is that it will invade human DNA, its in the psyche for sure.


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Thanks. Was moving too fast and not paying attention. Damn this modern life.

Nuns aren't going to help you sell your point

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The nuns would also beat you if tried to write with your left hand, or you asked too many questions about whether the sun *really* went around the Earth or not. Not all progress is bad.

And by the way, people have been complaining about "new founded reliance" on technology for hundreds of years. So I'm curious as to how far back you consider the "good old days."

Dude , then loose the nuns,

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Dude , then loose the nuns, public schools had the same piece of cardboard. But in answer to the good old days, mmmmm , how about beer was .15 a glass , gas .19 a gal. , stores not open on Sunday , and Mickey Mantle was in centerfield. A & P stores in every neighborhood , trains and trolleys were all over the place , wool was warm , corner drug stores that sold fountain coke , and there were factories and jobs all throughout the land. And the men that were working in them honored the flag , some having fought in WW2 and or Korea. How''s that for a start ?

Loose the nuns!

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Obviously you are a white man.

"... factories and jobs all throughout the land. And the men that were working in them..."

And the women stayed at home and took uppers to escape depression, smoked and drank while pregnant...

And maybe Jim Crow laws should go in there too but I wouldn't want to ruin your memories.

Validity of Arguments

The commentator being white or not (I'm not white, BTW - but this shouldn't matter at all) should have no bearing to the argument. What he listed sounds reasonable stuff to list as "good things" that is no longer around. Ample jobs with pay that is able to buy the most important things in life (Google the Meme "Old Economy Steve"). The common argument (at least online) "women at home taking uppers" as evidence for miserably have argument of being exaggerated or at least there's data saying that opposite

This is not to say kvn's first post is right (XKCD seem to be quite poignant). Just your counter-argument have even more holes than his.

There are things we look from the past (I think we can all agree on economy for one, many likes to look back to the old trolley and metro systems that many, at least on this website, would also appreciate) and things today that have its strength.

Thank you , R , yes guilty I

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Thank you , R , yes guilty I am white . But if it makes you feel better , I went to an integrated upper school. As we just had gotten off the boat in the late 40's , my family really didnt have too much to do with American history, but we had our own oppression. You can google' Statutes of Kilkenny ' for a bit of insight. I thought I was just adding my perspective to this forum , my bit of lard to go into the melting pot that is America. But, I offer this to your comments,

The Fortunes - You've Got Your Troubles

Slan, Agus Beannacht de leath


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No, not your comma usage. Any time someone draws a parallel between historical difficulties of Irish people and ongoing systemic oppression of people of color, well, just, no. No. Just no.


I don't care about his comma usage. Oppression of people of color? White is a color. Read about the Irish Famine and how things were back then.

"Devon in February 1845 reported that "It would be impossible adequately to describe the privations which they [Irish labourer and his family] habitually and silently endure . . . in many districts their only food is the potato, their only beverage water . . . their cabins are seldom a protection against the weather... a bed or a blanket is a rare luxury . . . and nearly in all their pig and a manure heap constitute their only property." The Commissioners concluded that they could not "forbear expressing our strong sense of the patient endurance which the labouring classes have exhibited under sufferings greater, we believe, than the people of any other country in Europe have to sustain."[17]"

eeka , and Swirls , shame on

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eeka , and Swirls , shame on you both. No empathy for others. My perception is mine, and you are playing a game of chess, where one type of suffering trumps the other. You both are far removed from the actuality of what you profess , perhaps you read more about it and glean a sense of it. Perhaps you don't understand the curse of immigration , separating families , and the yearning for the home farm. The Irish were wanted for their skills with the pick and shovel, the feel of which I am sure you are unaware of.The streets of America aren't paved with gold . I never heard of any government preferred program for Irish preference. But I also have a sad nostalgic memory , and that is the yellow of the school bus, and how did that work out for the city of Boston? All this over the discussion of the dreaded GPS gadget, which I never trusted, map or map book only, but you have to use your squash to figure it out. And that what I thought I was saying , you have to think! Both of you, now , 3 acts of random kindness today !
Again , Slan, Agus Beannacht de leath
( And did you listen to the fine song from the Fortunes , the link of which I posted above? )


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It was 7 years and approximately 1 million people died.

OMG, tell that to my

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OMG, tell that to my grandparents who as children at times only had grass to eat. Tell that to my dead relatives. Tell that to my family who had to leave the only life they knew to survive.

Equating one groups misery with another is not something I suggest.

Would you guys feel better about the Irish if more suffered?

Geez, unbelievable.

Were Irish women systematically raped and their children sold?

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Did this go on in several continents for 400 years?

I didn't think so.

Your ethnic pride does not excuse your historical ignorance. I would say that the Potato Famine was the equivalent of the holocaust. It was not the equivalent of 400 years of the most oppressive chattel slavery the planet has known.


Doesn't still happen on the

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Doesn't it still happen on the home continent?, and what are you doing about it. Your venom and malice towards my heritage is ignorant ,
proudly I say to you with all my ethnic pride , to you , anon itself,

Póg mo thóin

Nasty behavior toward the

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Nasty behavior toward the Irish is still going on in England... was pretty shocked when I heard about that 'kick a ginger' trend a few years back.

Don't be too shocked by Swwrly's comments -- Swrrly is well known on uhub for having a bias against the Irish, their descendants and people who grew up in Boston, and New Englanders in general. Most people around here don't share the same ignorant antagonistic attitudes.

Well , anon , I guess I

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Well , anon , I guess I failed to mention that I also fondly recall the Southampton meat terminal, and the Kasanof''s bakery on Blue Hill ave, both in Roxbury, where also men worked, a good portion of them not white, but none the less it was a good remembrance as well. And the telephone had good jobs for women as well, which I also recall , the masses of them walking in and out down on Essex street. It was a time when one wage could pay the bills of a household, and one parent , the woman mostly , could stay home and raise up the children, so they didn't run wild. That is part of my perception, and it is sad that yours doesn't bring you any nostalgic comfort. But life is a struggle for everyone.