The video on the right portrays 13 trucking accidents occurring under a low bridge in Durham, NC within a 13 month time frame.
Unfortunately, these accidents are drastically increasing throughout the country and consumer GPS systems are playing a large role.
NY Senator Chuck Schumer addressed the issue last Monday, stating that over 80% of low-bridge accidents in NY were the result of truckers “relying on consumer GPS systems to plan their routes,” with over 200 of these cases occurring in NYC, Long Island, and Westchester County in the last two years.1
Whereas commercial GPS systems contain information for truckers, such as bridge clearances, the consumer GPS systems many truckers are utilizing due to lack of knowledge regarding the differences between these units as well as cost (consumer GPS systems range from $100 to $175 while commercial systems can average between $300 to $400) do not provide the same level of detail and often direct trucks into danger zones.1
Not only do these crashes result in traffic tie-ups, but damage cost, including the customer’s freight. According to Schumer, “Repairs on the Long Island Expressway alone due to truck- bridge accidents have cost $4.1 million. In addition, the state has spent $3 million for 300 bridge warning signs.”2
The DOT is currently looking into Schumer’s request to “develop federal standards for truck routing systems” as well as “conduct an investigation into the increased bridge accidents” and for GPS system manufacturers to “include warning systems for truck drivers to prevent them from ever getting on parkways illegally.” 1, 3
In 2011, the state of IL passed a law that went into effect this year that would help reduce low-bridge accidents. According to the law:
-Local governments would be required to “report road restrictions and designations to the state Department of Transportation, which posts a unified list on its web site.”1
-The DOT is required to “prepare a brochure to educate drivers about the problem by explaining the difference between a consumer and a commercial GPS system.”1 This can be found at http://www.cyberdriveillinois.com/publications/pdf_publications/dsd_cdl14.pdf.
-The DOT “includes material about the distinction between consumer and truck routing systems in its curriculum for its commercial driver’s license exam.” 1
“If we have the technology to send a truck to Mars, we have the technology to prevent trucks from crashing into bridges,” Schumer stated.2
Below are the benefits of utilizing a commercial GPS as stated in the IL DOT’s brochure.
- “Unlike car GPS units, truck-specific GPS devices take into account road restrictions, type of load carried, truck configuration, and other metrics.”4
- “Truck devices help prevent commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) from getting stuck on roads, under bridges or other inappropriate places, thus preventing traffic incidents.”4
- “The devices also keep CMVs off of weight-restricted roads and bridges, which in turn protects the integrity of our highways.”4
- “They also help to keep hazardous loads off restricted roads, further improving public safety.”4
Do you feel that federal standards, including warning systems, for truck routing systems need to be developed in order to prevent access onto illegal parkways and low-bridge accidents from trucking companies using consumer GPS systems?