Truckers using GPS hit N.Y. bridges 200 times, senator says
Truckers are often following directions that put them onto roads not designed to accommodate commercial vehicles, Sen. Charles Schumer said
WASHINGTON — Truck drivers following faulty directions by GPS-connected devices have hit bridges in New York City, Long Island and Westchester County more than 200 times in the past two years, said Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y.
The U.S. Transportation Department should investigate a "dramatic increase" in low-bridge strikes and write U.S. standards for global-positioning systems (GPS) in trucks and buses, the New York Democrat said in a letter to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today.
"These accidents are frequent, costly, dangerous and entirely avoidable," Schumer said. "If we have the technology to send a truck to Mars, we have the technology to prevent trucks from crashing into bridges."
Truckers are often following directions that put them onto roads not designed to accommodate commercial vehicles, Schumer said. Even if the roads are well-marked, GPS devices may not note restrictions on trucks and buses, Schumer said.
That's especially true in New York suburbs like Westchester and Long Island, where bridges going over roads like the Hutchinson and Saw Mill Parkways may have clearances of less than 10 feet. In New York City, 110 bridges were struck in 2010 and 2011. On Long Island, 94 bridges were struck during the same period, Schumer said.
The senator held a news conference today at a bridge at Mamaroneck Road on the Hutchison River Parkway that he said has been hit more than 90 times in the past 20 years. Bridges in New York's Hudson River Valley have been struck 855 times over the past two decades, he said.
About 80 percent of bridge strikes in New York state are caused by GPS misdirection, Schumer said.