Use of GPS leads to more accidents/fines for moversBy Eric Anders • Sep 26th, 2012 • Category: Department of Transportation (DOT), FMCSA, TECHNOLOGY
U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) recently called on the Federal Department of Transportation (DOT) to conduct an investigation into the dramatic increase in low bridge strikes by commercial trucks across New York State, and issue nation-wide standards for Global Positioning System (GPS) devices in trucks.
As part of his call to action, Schumer sent a letter to DOT Secretary Ray LaHood pointing to the recurring regularity with which high-profile trucks are striking overpasses throughout the state of New York after being led onto roads they shouldn’t be on by GPS devices the drivers are using.
Senator Schumer noted that no rules govern the use of such devices in commercial vehicles.
Road to financial ruin
Frequently these popular satellite-based digital mapping technologies direct inattentive, distracted, or confused drivers to faithfully follow the GPS coordinates or all-knowing virtual voice directions onto roads on which it is illegal for them to travel, such as the Southern State Parkway and North State Parkway on Long Island, where they collide with the low overpasses.
The absence of standards results in many situations in which trucks use GPS devices that do not differentiate between roads on which trucks are allowed and on which they are not. This is growing problem in densely populated urban areas where GPS technology is increasingly relied on by all motorists just to get around.
While this issue is seen by some as just another example of unnecessary (and expensive) government regulation, the problem of bad GPS directions is very real to the tens-of- thousands of independent owner-operators and over-the-road company drivers employed by irregular route household goods motor carriers.
Who hauled me under here?
Frequently their faulty GPS directions lead unsuspecting or inattentive vehicle operators into an expensive accident, tow-bill, or a traffic fine.
In New York City, for instance, just the traffic fine for being inattentive can run as high as $1000 per incident.
This dangerous and potentially deadly situation not only affects professional drivers licensed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, but also many consumers and small businesses who are moving themselves using larger rental trucks and towing package options.
Many of the popular large national truck rental companies like Penske, Budget, and U-Haul now equip each of their vehicles with global positioning functionality or technology hook-ups for hand-held digital devices enabled with a GPS app.
This handy add-on convenience make is easier for already anxious (and often inexperienced) drivers who've come to rely on the popular mapping technology to follow the directions of the sexy voice on dashboard instead of the posted traffic signs and signals on the roadway.
Whadda think? Should Secretary Ray LaHood require the DOT to issue issue uniform, nation-wide standards for Global Positioning System (GPS) devices in trucks? Add your comments below.
Senator Schumer's letter to DOT Secretary Ray LaHood – U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer from New York
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