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Senator Calls for GPS Standards for Trucks

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Sen. Charles Schumer, D-NY, says GPS devices are to blame for leading trucks onto roadways where they can collide with low-clearance bridges. Schumer plans to ask the U.S. Department of Transportation to issue specific GPS standards for trucks to reduce the number of bridge strikes. Truck drivers in New York may be more familiar with this problem, as the aging state infrastructure has caused problems with bridge strikes tied to both inexperience as well as the type of GPS devices truckers carry – most of which are intended for use with cars, not trucks. Sen. Schumer is citing an August 2011 report titled Bridge Vehicle Impact Assessment, published by the New York State Department of Transportation, to make his case. The report evaluated crash hotspots in the state and New York City, and indicated that as many as 80 percent of truck strikes on low-clearance bridges involved the use – or misuse – of GPS devices that routed trucks onto parkways. Inadequate signage or signs placed to close to bridges to make a difference were also listed as causes of accidents in the report. The report noted that many drivers were simply not aware of their vehicle dimensions. On a national level, of 41 states surveyed, 35 reported no bridge strikes related to GPS routing of trucks. Two states reported between one and five incidents during the past year while four states reported more than 10 incidents.

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