If you're a commercial bus or truck driver using a GPS navigation system that doesn't tell you about important route restrictions--like low overpasses--that shortcut you take to save time and fuel could end up costing you more than you bargained for.
The differences among navigation systems might seem small, but they can make a big difference in safety. Especially for those who drive commercial motor vehicles, a lack of information can leave you unprepared and can lead to dangerous incidents like crashing into the underside of a low-clearance bridge.
At DOT we think one bridge strike is too many. That's why the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is taking new steps to ensure that those who drive our nation's commercial motor vehicles are aware of the different information provided by different navigation systems.
A typical system that a consumer buys at an electronics or auto parts store--or that comes with a newly purchased car--might not have the ability to show low bridges, tunnel restrictions, and other information relevant to commercial bus and truck drivers. And for those drivers, that information is crucial for safe navigation of America's roads.
So, we're arming commercial drivers with good information so they can make better safety decisions.
FMCSA is working with its state partners and the industry to make sure professional truck and bus drivers recognize the importance of using navigation systems intended for commercial vehicles.
As FMCSA Administrator Anne Ferro said, “By using the right navigation system and driving the safe route, commercial drivers put safety first.”
To support this safety message, FMCSA has created a visor card--available for printing at www.fmcsa.dot.gov-- specifically for truck and bus drivers on how to choose the right navigation system.
FMCSA will also work with commercial driver training school associations to encourage them to include electronic navigation system selection information in their training programs.
And FMCSA will consider electronic navigation system selection as it prepares to move forward with the entry-level driver training rule required by MAP-21.
We want America's commercial drivers to know exactly how to operate safely from their first day behind the wheel.
According to the New York State DOT, in the Empire State alone, trucks and buses struck bridges 255 times last year.
And, as U.S. Senator from New York Chuck Schumer said, "“The steps announced today will help to once again make GPS devices an asset to drivers, and not a dangerously misused tool."
By following the recommended route, obeying traffic signs, and not using a cell phone or texting behind the wheel, drivers can help prevent tragedies and save lives on our roads and highways.
Let's make safety the rule of the road.