GPS: Leading Truckers Down the Wrong Road?
The most useful navigational and route plotting tool since the Atlas, GPS technology is available inexpensively on virtually every communications device from smartphones to note pads to laptops and widely used by motorists — especially commercial truck drivers — to successfully wind their way through America’s highway systems. But using GPS can lead truckers into disastrous situations, especially if drivers are relying on routing technology not specifically designed for commercial vehicles.
While navigation systems are becoming increasingly commonplace in the nation’s commercial vehicles, the impact that these devices have on driver behavior, decision-making and safety is not fully understood, according to the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI). According to ATRI, there is mounting anecdotal evidence that GPS navigation units are being blamed for large truck crashes where bridge strikes and other crashes in which the truck driver was using a navigation system designed for passenger vehicles.
In a move to help educate truckers, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has begun distributing cards to truck drivers warning them that using navigation GPS devices meant for smaller vehicles can be dangerous. FMCSA posted its official recommendations on its website as a “visor card,” meant for drivers to keep in their trucks.
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