Semi Truck Accident Attorney Examines the Effect of GPS on Truck Driver Safety
For trucking companies, quick cargo deliveries are essential for staying competitive. This is why GPS technology is such a boon to the industry. It allows the truck driver to find shorter routes and bypass congestion caused by rush hour traffic and road construction. However, according to a New York semi truck accident attorney, its use has contributed to many serious accidents in a number of ways:
GPS Distracts the Truck Driver
Route finding is a driving distraction that is a necessary “evil” in that it takes the mind off of driving yet is absolutely essential. Going to a destination for the first time requires the driver to follow directions. A preset GPS that gives voice commands, minimizes route finding distraction. However, GPS devices also include a map, which directs the truck driver’s eyes off the road. Unlike quickly glancing down for the defrost button, maps are full of detail and require intense focus. This is focus taken off the road.
Finally, for various reasons, drivers may occasionally program their GPS while driving. This is the most distracting activity of all because it takes the mind, the eyes, and a hand away from the task of driving.
Truck Drivers Don’t Always Use Truck-Specific GPS
Truck drivers may use an “off-the-shelf” GPS meant for private motorists rather than truck-specific devices. They might do this because a truck-specific GPS is more costly, or because it’s more convenient to use an off-the-shelf device they already own.
In any case, GPS meant for cars include roads that prohibit trucks. Therefore, the truck driver may use roads with low-clearance overpasses that can shear off the trailer top or wedge the truck. This can involve nearby traffic in the accident. The truck’s weight can damage or even collapse bridges meant for lightweight motor vehicles. The truck driver may also find herself on road grades impossibly steep for semi trucks, or endangering the safety of neighborhood residents and their children because the roads are narrow and meant for low-speed traffic.
GPS Can Misdirect the Driver
A GPS device that is almost always right is insidious because it gains the complete confidence of its user. This sets the driver up for disaster when the device provides the wrong information. Wrong directions have sent cars and trucks the wrong way on one-way streets. Motor vehicles have driven into rivers, lakes, and even off demolished bridges because they blindly followed their GPS.
GPS errors primarily occur because maps go out of date. Roads close while new ones open, and lanes are changed. Even a GPS using the most recent maps can contain errors because the map updating process itself takes time, and therefore won’t instantaneously react to a recent change.
Using a GPS device doesn’t exempt the truck driver from obeying traffic signage. This is particularly true of “cars only” or “no trucks” signs. If an accident with a truck injured you or a loved one, seek the legal advice of an experienced semi truck accident attorney. If you have any questions or would like to schedule a free consultation, contact us at Frekhtman & Associates.