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Do GPS devices navigate trucks toward danger?

As a society that is generally addicted to our technological devices, most would classify GPS devices as helpful. Gone are the days of having to lay out a paper map and write down directions. Today, we can simply type or speak a desired destination into a phone or navigation system and be guided there step by step.

Drivers of standard vehicles rely on navigation systems to travel but so do commercial drivers. Truck drivers, for example, use GPS devices as part of their jobs. It makes sense. They are traveling all of the time and need convenient guidance as they drive through unfamiliar places. But is that convenience causing truck accidents and, therefore, too risky?

The American Transportation Research Institute wants the trucking industry's input on the pros versus the cons of the use of GPS systems in commercial vehicles. The logic of using the technology is there, but history shows that there is a gap in the systems that has led to crashes. More specifically, the navigation systems guide truckers on roadways where bridge heights are too low to safely pass. Not only does that threaten lives, but these "bridge strikes" damage roadways.

There is no regulation against the dependence on GPS systems in commercial vehicles. The American Transportation Research Institute has posted an anonymous survey online for industry members to complete. Perhaps there is a way to keep the efficiency of navigational systems in trucks while also avoiding crashes.

While the industry looks for that solution, however, hopefully more GPS-related crashes won't occur. Truck accidents often lead to serious injuries such as back and neck injuries. Visit our Wisconsin truck accident page to learn more about how semi accidents are different than other crashes.

Source: Truckinginfo, "Drivers, Carriers Asked to Weigh in on Navigation Systems," Oct. 25, 2012

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