GPS devices causing accidents, Senator says

| September 25, 2012

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) is pushing for establishing national standards for truck Global Positioning System devices, citing research indicating a high percentage of trucks hitting low bridges in his home state because of GPS issues.

The U.S. Department of Transportation should investigate these New York accidents and “issue a set of recommended federal standards to address the problem,” he wrote DOT Secretary Ray LaHood. The state’s increased use of signage and new alert systems for drivers have been insufficient to overcome the issue, he added in a Sept. 24 press release.

Department officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Schumer referenced NYDOT research that indicated most New York truck bridge strikes result because GPS did not indicate truckers were on a non-truck route.

Final study results released last December note passenger vehicle GPS are not programmed to help truckers avoid parkways and low clearance bridges, but newer GPS systems designed for trucks can be very effective to avoid these situations. Additionally, smart phone apps and over height detector systems work well to warning drivers when they approach a low clearance bridge, researchers stated.

They recommended prohibiting truckers using consumer GPS system and hiking fines for truckers on non-truck routes. Other recommendations included:

  • The NYDOT and local authorities should review several routes under CSX bridges unrestricted to trucks to consider barring trucks on these routes
  • Requiring truckers with multiple accidents on bridges on unauthorized routes purchase additional liability insurance
  • Use electronic remote monitoring to identify trucks on unauthorized routes and issue summons or penalties by mail

Maryland’s State Highway Admiration also has noted a recent increase in truck bridge strikes. As a result, officials have updated the over height truck permit application process to include a height clearance route survey certification.

Illinois implemented a new regulation this year requiring the Secretary of State produce a brochure outlining differences between truck and passenger vehicle GPS systems. Additionally, the new law requires local governments became to provide current truck route information to the Illinois Department of Transportation for online posting, here.

  • http://www.facebook.com/kurt.keilhofer Kurt Keilhofer

    No regulation will keep truck drivers from using cheaper automotive GPS’s. And legislation will not suddenly enable these drivers with the ability to read LOW BRIDGE signs, which they apparently are unable to do now.

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  • zsn1gman

    The real problem is that NY posts bridges showing a height lower than they actually are. It is common for a bridge on a truck route to say 12’10″, when it’s really over 13’6″. So sometimes it’s hard to judge.

  • Mtnflyer

    “Our Hats go Off to OSHA
    For Saving Life and Limb
    Those Loony Wrights at Kitty Hawk
    Will Never Fly Again!”
    Leave it to Chuck U. Shumer to come up with a government answer to this issue. What we need is more rules and regulations!
    Howe about drivers look at signs when approaching a bridge like we did in the old days? “What Kurt Said!”

  • mousekiller

    The GPS systems did not cause the truck to hit the bridge. It was the inability of the driver to tell the difference between reality and the information on the TOY. The GPS was not driving the truck. It is information only and far too many think it is gospel and the all knowing do all dash mounted genie.
    Entirely far too many drivers rely on this toy gadget for information instead of looking at a map. You can’t regulate stupidity nor control it. You need to first start in congress and go from there.
    More chlorine needed in the gene pool please,

  • Tom Brian

    Getting NYS DOT to mark the real height of bridges would be a good first good step then the map makers could do an update of info. that could be used on GPS
    that could be believed . I have as most drivers had to take a 13.6″ rig under a bridge marked 12.?” why the were not marked correctly years ago is an unexplained mystery. maybe the senator could find out and correct?

  • http://www.facebook.com/julian.pietras Julian Pietras

    Maybe we get all the bridges up to federal standarts , 14 feet high , min width 12 feet . States and citys have to be involved , required extra constructions (employment), new tax dollars at work

  • LCWright

    All of NY’s bridges are marked 12 inches lower then they actually are to allow for ice build up under the bridge

  • LCWright

    I agree. No regulation will suddenly give a driver common sense. When you buy an Atlas at the truck stop it lists the restricted roads, and low clearances. But if they can’t read the signs,”No Trucks”, and “Low Clearance”, how they going to read an atlas?

  • LCWright

    When I get a load to a location I haven’t been before, I locate in on Google Maps, then look at the sattelite view, then I check my atlas. Sometimes I call the shipper or reciever for truck routing, and last resort watch for restriction signs. I think they call that planning your route.

  • Richard from NY

    You know I read all the comments, and as a New York driver from 1990 I know, no GPS will help a driver in NY, NY are the only state I know of and I have been to all 48, that will have a sing telling trucks to get off 278 only to put them right smack in the middle of Brooklyn, and all the low bridges , I like Sen. Schumer but this time I think he is going after the wrong people or system, New York state needs to update there sing system to match the rest of the United States, there system is outdated they have a sing on I278 in Brooklyn that says 12″2 but it is really 14″ there are no real sings telling a driver he or she are on a non-truck rout, or are there sings to keep them on a truck rout, if they would fix there system truckers will flow the rout.

  • Marty Marsh

    Anytime the Chuckster mentions anything he is looking to get in to someones pocket.So with that said, go a head and create all those union jobs by raising all of the bridges to at least 14 feet where they should be and then we won’t have to drive miles out of our way and it will be one less worry.Chuckster now the big question,is the wonderful state of NY going to pay for this?

  • mousekiller

    The GPS is not connected to the trucks steering system nor the accelerator nor the braking system.. The GPS is NOT a drive by wire system. That driver had no business behind the wheel of a truck in the first place. He lacked the mental ability to look the situation over and locate a better place to turn his vehicle safely around. He failed in so many ways. I think that after he hit the first thing he tried to eave the scene and just compounded his situation.
    The GPS is a information only unit and does not in any way control the vehicle. Far too many drivers allow it to control them however.
    What is needed is a GPS and Cell phone units that has a button on it that says TEST for COMMON SENSE.

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