I often write about safety and truck accidents because trucking accidents are particularly dangerous given their size, weight and power. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, thousands of people are killed or injured in big rig accidents every year. Now, in addition to the common causes of big rig accidents, comes a new wrinkle: can a trucker’s GPS cause a trucking accident?
Like all drivers, truck drivers have their distractions too. One reason for their distracted driving may be their GPS navigation systems. These systems require the truck driver to type in their destination address and then he or she must read and interpret the directions. Every time a truck driver engages in this driving behavior, others are put at risk.
An additional danger is that GPS systems sometimes route truckers to roads that are supposed to be only accessible to passenger vehicles. If a truck driver is not paying close attention to this erroneous routing, a terrible accident could result.
How can erroneous routing cause a trucking accident?
Many GPS systems in use by truckers cannot differentiate between a car and a truck when planning a route. As a result, the trucker and other drivers on the road are put at risk. There are several really scary ways that erroneous routing to roads supposed to be used only by passenger cars can cause a trucking accident. Here are just a few.
- Lanes that are too narrow for a big rig
- Overpasses that are too low to accommodate a large truck
- Low-weight bearing bridges
- Unmarked steep grades
- Limited sight distance affecting a trucker’s ability to stop in time, if needed
Technically advanced GPS systems
There are GPS systems that are very technically advanced that provide safe guidance. Many include truck-specific routing based on the height, weight, width, length and hazmat restrictions for custom routes.
If these advanced GPS systems are available, then why aren’t they being used? The answer is the cost. They are pricey and many smaller trucking firms either can’t afford to or don’t want to incur the expense of installing these devices in their fleet.
I believe trucking companies should invest in the right tools because the consequences of inadequate GPS systems can be devastating.
Hopefully, you will never be involved in a truck accident, but if you are and are able, call the police, identify witnesses, take pictures of the scene, and always seek immediate medical attention.
Truck accidents are one of my firm’s major areas of expertise. If you’ve been injured in an accident involving a big truck, give me a call so we can discuss your situation. Consultations are always free.
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Little Rock, AR 72206
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