Lawmakers are considering a bill that would allow officials to hold GPS providers accountable when trucks become stuck on the notorious Smugglers Notch segment of Vermont Route 108.
Sen. Thomas Chittenden’s bill S.77 would create civil penalties for GPS companies that fail to warn truckers of the vehicle size restrictions on the mountainous Smugglers Notch section located between Cambridge and Stowe in Vermont.
From the text of the bill:
If an operator of a vehicle that violates this subsection was using a GPS navigation system that did not provide explicit notice of the prohibitions in subdivision (1) of this subsection, then the GPS navigation provider of the GPS navigation system shall be subject to a civil penalty of $2,000.00.
Lawmakers hope that the civil penalty would provide motivation for non-trucker specific GPS providers like Google Maps to include CMV specific warnings.
S.77 has been referred to the Transportation Committee for consideration.
Vermont law already has penalties on the books for truckers who illegally use or get stuck on Smugglers Notch. The fine is $1000 for illegal use of Vermont Route 108. The fine doubles to $2000 for trucks that get stuck and significantly block traffic. A second or subsequent violation within a three year period is also subject to double the normal fine.
Each year, stuck trucks cause major traffic backups on Vermont Route 108 in spite of the fact that there are several signs warning truckers not to enter. Last year, five trucks became stuck on Smugglers Notch.