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New GPS rules to help prevent commercial truck bridge strikes

Commercial trucks often rely on GPS devices while driving, especially when they are travelling across the country. While GPS devices can be very helpful, an increasing number of commercial trucks have hit bridges while diving underneath due to their GPS not being updated or not reading the map correctly.

Low bridge strikes are when a truck hits a bridge it was driving under and they can be very dangerous to everyone on the road. That is why the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has issued recommendations to use proper GPS devices as well as require GPS training as part of a commercial truck driver’s certification program to prevent future truck accidents.

The recommendations include that commercial drivers be trained and educated on the GPS systems that specifically designed for the commercial industry. It is important that truck drivers use these devices because they take into account the size of the truck and what routes are safe for them to travel on, thus reducing the risks of a commercial truck crashing into bridges or low overpasses.

The FMCSA said they have already issued a two-part process for implementing the training for low bridge strikes. First, they distributed their recommendations to the commercial trucking industry. Their recommendations include tips and instructions for commercial drivers to use the proper GPS system.

The second part of the process will be implemented through last year’s highway funding bill that created a new entry-level certification program for commercial drivers in the U.S. The new requirements for the certification program include a GPS training requirement to make sure commercial drivers are aware of the risk of low bridge strikes and how to prevent these types of accidents from happening.

If the FMCSA recommendations are successful, fewer commercial trucks should be hitting bridges and low overpasses in the future.

Source: Truckinginfo, “FMCSA Announce Steps to Reduce GPS-Caused Bridge Strikes,” March 12, 2013

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