Wednesday, 26 September 2012

LOW BRIDGE CRASHES


Senator calls for
GPS standards for trucks
By David Tanner, Land Line associate editor

There should be more signs like this one. But even this one may be
inadequate at night if it is not illuminated. It also appears to be too
close to the bridge for a quick stop. The sign should have been erected
at the last intersection before the bridge.

Sen. Charles Schumer, D-NY, says GPS devices are to blame for leading trucks onto roadways where they can collide with low-clearance bridges.

Schumer’s office notified OOIDA on Monday that the senator plans to ask the U.S. Department of Transportation to issue specific GPS standards for trucks to reduce the number of bridge strikes.

Truckers familiar with the aging New York infrastructure say problems with bridge strikes can be tied to inexperience as well as the type of devices some truckers carry.

“The problem is GPS units that people use that are not for trucks; they’re for cars,” New York trucker Bob Boehm said. “It runs these guys onto the parkways and it takes their tops off.”

Sen. Schumer is citing an August 2011 report titled Bridge Vehicle Impact Assessment, published by the New York State Department of Transportation, to make his case.

The report evaluated crash hotspots in the state and New York City, and indicated that as many as 80 percent of truck strikes on low-clearance bridges involved the use – or misuse – of GPS devices that routed trucks onto parkways.

“A majority of these trucks are from out-of-state locations,” the report authors stated.

The report notes more issues at play than just GPS. In some cases, the posted warning signs were inadequate or placed too close to the bridge to make a difference.

“By the time a truck driver sees these signs, it is already too late for them to stop,” the report authors noted, adding that warnings in some areas were “hardly visible” during the night . . . .

Full story at Landline Magazine

Peter’s Piece

There seems to be an inference that out-of-state truckers are a problem when it comes to New York’s low bridges.

But out-of-state truckers driving 18 wheelers are usually the majority of truckers in most states, including New York. The reason New York has a problem is because New York has more than its share of problem bridges.

Approaching an unexpected low bridge at night or in fast and heavy traffic can be an alarming experience and I’ve written more about low bridges in Highway America

GPS is a handy system that can make navigating easier, but drivers should never rely solely on GPS. Nothing can completely replace careful pre-trip planning, map reading, keeping a sharp eye out for signage and good old fashioned common sense.