Schumer wants GPS for truck drivers

September 24, 2012 3:15:15 PM PDT
There are calls for action to correct troubles with GPS devices.

They're causing dangerous accidents for big rigs traveling on roads they shouldn't be on.

The issue: the dramatic increase in the number of overpass collisions; 43 bridges hit last year alone in just one area of the tri-state.

Imagine you're a truck driver, who unknowingly has driven onto the forbidden Southern State Parkway and your GPS gives you absolutely no warning of that low bridge you're about to crash into.

The resulting collision pealed back the top of you truck, spilled its contents and caused all kinds of traffic headaches.

Just ask trucker Jason Newbern.

"It's pretty frightening coming through here the first time," Newbern said.

According to a recent DOT survey, more than 200 bridge accidents per year have occurred in New York State since 2005.

25% of those accidents occurred in Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester counties.

"Adding insult to injury are the traffic jams they create," said Senator Charles Schumer, (D) New York.

The bridge on Eagle Avenue in Lakeview has been hit 27 times, leaving Senator Schumer to question why it continues to happen.

Most truckers, the senator believes are using GPS devices that do not give them adequate information for the type of vehicle they are driving.

"It has no idea whether you're a truck that's 14 feet high or a Ford Taurus that is five feet high so the GPS directs you right onto this highway," Schumer said.

To avoid future crashes he is asking Federal DOT officials to set nationwide standards for the use of GPS units in commercial trucks.

Drivers say some equipment is better than others but it can be confusing.

"The GPS doesn't tell you hardly anything. So yes, I would be a whole lot better off if we had some better software or updated software," Newbern said.

Senator Schumer believes the DOT, not the software developers, should set the standards so that drivers who may not know the roads can avoid potentially deadly crashes.

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