LIRR rolling out safety upgrades at rail crossings

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WOODBURY -

The Long Island Rail Road says it's rolling out safety upgrades at rail crossings to curb the growing problem of motorists driving onto train tracks due to GPS confusion.

The railroad says GPS navigation apps can sometimes mix up drivers at night or in bad weather, causing them to accidentally turn on to tracks. It's especially a problem when there is a nearby parallel road.

MORE: Transportation Coverage

"In 2017 as a result of cars on track, we had over 400 trains delayed as a result," says LIRR President Philip Eng.

The railroad is installing reflective posts and lane markers at key crossings. It plans to modify 65 intersections before the summer, and all 300 of its crossings by the end of the year, at a cost of just over $100,000.

The LIRR says it is also working with GPS app creators like Google and Waze to see if they can put alerts right on users' phones to let them know when they're crossing a track.

AAA says that's a good idea, but it notes that the best way to prevent accidents is for drivers to pay more attention to the road and less attention to technology.

"We cannot turn off our brains when we are using these devices -- we cannot rely on them 100 percent," says Robert Sinclair, of AAA New York.

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