Last September, New York Senator Charles E. Schumer urged the FMCSA to address the issue of truck-specific GPS units, saying GPS systems are to blame for more than 200 bridge strikes by trucks over the last two years. Schumer said that 80% of all bridge strikes by trucks were attributed to GPS units.
In a letter to Ray LaHood, Schumer stated, “These accidents are frequent, costly, dangerous and entirely avoidable. If we have the technology to send a truck to Mars, we have the technology to prevent trucks from crashing into bridges.”
Schumer called for the DOT to issue nationwide regulations for truck GPS units to include bridge and road restrictions for trucks.
“I again urge you to use your authority under existing federal safety laws and the available resources at the Department’s disposal to investigate this matter and issue a set of recommended federal standards to address the problem,” Schumer wrote.[divider top=”0″]
Today, Senator Schumer announced the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration will begin issuing official recommendations to drivers on the proper uses of GPS devices.
Additionally, the FMCSA will “incorporate GPS training into new entry-level certification programs for commercial motor vehicle operators. This means that commercial drivers will be trained, and reminded, to only use GPS systems designed specifically for the industry. These specialized units take into account the specifics of the truck they’re in – including the height, weight and contents – and will then route the trucks onto appropriate roads. The consumer GPS units too often being used are frequently routing trucks onto inappropriate roads, causing them to crash into low overpasses and bridges,” the press release stated.
“These brand new federal standards for GPS-use among commercial truck drivers will be the first major steps to thwarting life-threatening bridge strikes that have been causing massive delays and imposing significant costs on taxpayers for far too long,” said Schumer. “I am pleased that the DOT heeded my call for reforms and I am confident that the combination of official recommendations and GPS-training will limit the number of low bridge strikes across the Hudson Valley. Thank you to FMCSA Administrator Ferro for recognizing the importance of this serious issue and for implementing a proactive approach towards teaching the industry how to eliminate GPS-related accidents.”
According to Schumer’s release, the FMCSA will implement a two-step solution:
- First, FMSCA will distribute official GPS recommendations and tips on how to use them. (Which it began doing today)
- Second, in accordance with Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21), the FMCSA is required to finish a new entry-level certification program for CMV operators regarding GPS training.
Today, the FMCSA posted visor cards on its site. The cards include tips on selecting truck-specific GPS units.
“Even one truck or bus striking an overpass is one too many, which is why we’re taking action to ensure professional truck and bus drivers know the importance of selecting the right navigation system,” said FMCSA Administrator Anne Ferro.