New York Gov. David Paterson is looking to crack down on truck drivers who use global positioning systems (GPS) to direct them to faster but banned routes, which causes trucks to crash into overpasses that are too low for their rigs, reports the Associated Press.
Gov. Paterson proposed penalties, such as jail time and confiscation of trucks, on truck drivers who use GPS devices to locate hazardous routes and end up striking bridges.
This proposal, of course, is not sitting well with truck drivers who call the proposal unfair and unwarranted, citing that it would cause a financial burden to law-abiding truck companies doing business in New York.
Others, however, disagree. Gerald Donaldson, senior research director of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, said that GPS devices adds to the list of other electronic distractions a truck driver must deal with, including cell phones, radios and a computer keyboard to communicate with companies and other drivers.
Furthermore, it is believed that truckers using GPS systems to locate prohibited routes pose even more of a threat because some of those trucks are carrying hazardous material. Additionally, because the trucks are over weight limits and clog traffic, hauling on restricted or residential routes could ruin the roads.
In the past 15 years, more than 1,400 bridge strikes have occurred in the New York state alone. So far this year, there have been 46 bridge strikes in Westchester County, with at least one bridge being hit nine times this year.
If the bill, which hits the Legislature as early as January, were to pass, it would increase penalties for illegally using parkways and require all large commercial trucks to use GPS device that route them to unrestricted roads. If bridge strikes occur, the trucking companies or their insurance carriers will foot the bill for repairs and cleanups.