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New GPS rules may stop commercial trucks from hitting bridges

Commercial trucks carry the stigma of being dangerous and many drivers often grip their steering wheels with white knuckles as they drive around commercial trucks. Drivers may have good reason to be cautious when driving around commercial trucks after a new report shows that commercial trucks are crashing into bridges and low overpasses, wreaking havoc on the road and for everyone driving around them.

The Department of Transportation reported that these types of truck accidents are still happening because commercial truck drivers are using consumer Global Positioning System devices that may route the trucks onto roads that are not safe or appropriate for big commercial trucks to be driving on because of their height, weight and contents.

To address the safety concerns of commercial trucks driving on inappropriate roads and crashing into low overpasses and bridges, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has issued recommendations to the commercial trucking industry to provide GPS training for all commercial truck drivers on the GPS systems that are used by the industry instead of consumer systems.

The recommendations say that truck drivers should be trained to use specific GPS systems that consider the commercial truck's weight, height and contents to determine the best and safest route to use when travelling. This GPS device is designed to keep commercial trucks off inappropriate roads that may cause trucks to hit bridges or low overpasses that can cause significant damage to the road as well as cause serious accidents.

As part of the FMCSA's recommendations, there is a new entry-level certification program that commercial vehicle drivers are required to obtain before driving. This program includes training for using the proper GPS devices to make sure commercial truck drivers know how to navigate and stay away from travelling on roads where their vehicles may hit bridges or overpasses.

Source: Trucking Info, "FMCSA Announces Steps to Reduce GPS-Caused Bridge Strikes," March 12, 2013

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