Sunday, March 18, 2012

Truck Driver Hits Low Bridge in NY Following Wrong Type of GPS Device

tomtom trucker 6000

Devices like this TomTom Trucker might have prevented the entire incident.

There are many different kinds of GPS devices and here at GPS Tracklog, I try and do my best to cover as many of them as possible. However, one thing that I don’t really write about (due to it’s immense specalization) is commercial GPS devices designed for truck drivers. These devices contain specific perimeters designed to help professional drivers choose the safest routes, and this blog is really more dedicated to hobbyists and GPS enthusiasts. However, today I saw an article that simply proves that drivers need to be more aware of what kind of GPS device they are buying.

According to a news site in Schenectady, NY, a truck driver recently hit a low hanging bridge in Glenville, NY, damaging his truck and halting traffic on the road. And, more interestingly, this was the second accident of its type that day alone. The bridge in question, the Maple Avenue Bridge in Glenville, NY, has been hit an estimated 20 times since 2013 when the road was widened. While you can read the full story here, basically it looks like yet another case of someone following a GPS device blindly, but with a little twist.

From what I can gather from reading the various articles, it looks like the truck driver was not using a GPS device designed for commercial drivers. Unlike regular GPS devices, truck driving-specific GPS devices have information about bridge heights and road weight limits and route accordingly. While once, you could have said that these devices are significantly more expensive than devices designed for regular consumers wanting a GPS for a vacation trip, it simply would not be true any longer. In fact, the TomTom Trucker goes for an average of $300, which isn’t that much more than a regular automotive GPS device. Rand McNally devices are more like $400.

Authorities seemed absolutely baffled, as you’d expect, by this incident.

“I’m told by people who were there that the GPS were active,” Glenville Town Supervisor Chris Koetzle told the Daily Gazette. “People have to understand where the low bridges are if they are going to drive professionally.”

Something you might notice in the article I linked above, is that authorities stated that it might be the GPS device’s fault. And, while it’s easy to simply blame GPS for the oversight, the real problem here is a lack of the general public understanding how GPS works, and the pros and cons of the different GPS devices. It’s not like this is the first time a bridge has sheared off the top of the bridge, and I’d be willing to bet it won’t be the last.

What do you think? Is this simply a case of one driver doing something foolish, or is it a larger problem? Tell me in the comments below!


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