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New York Sen. Charles Schumer calls on DOT to issue national GPS standards

In a letter U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (above), D-N.Y., wrote to Ray LaHood, he told the DOT Secretary, “I know you will be alarmed to learn that GPS-related bridge strikes in New York now represent 80 percent of all such accidents.”

The Trucker News Services

9/25/2012

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., Monday asked the U.S. Department of Transportation to conduct an investigation into what he called a “dramatic increase” in low bridge strikes by commercial trucks across New York state and to issue nationwide standards for GPS devices on large trucks.

In a letter Schumer wrote to Ray LaHood he told the DOT Secretary, “I know you will be alarmed to learn that GPS-related bridge strikes in New York now represent 80 percent of all such accidents.”

He said police reports on the problem “continue to fault the reliance on basic GPS technology as the main culprit” in many of the accidents.

In particularly the “downstate suburbs” of Westchester, Rockland, Nassau and Suffolk, Schumer wrote, road bridge overpasses constructed over parkways not allowing commercial truck traffic were built, “in some cases, over 50 years ago and at artificially low heights.”

He said although a “plethora” of road signs warn commercial truckers not to use these road bridge overpasses, “basic GPS technology does not heed these messages and funnels massive freight trucks into a major danger zone.”

He pointed to a recent NYSDOT study which showed about 200 bridge accidents per year have occurred in New York state since 2005 and that of that total more than 25 percent occurred in Nassau, Suffolk or Westchester counties.

The same study stated that major repairs on the Long Island Expressway connected to those accidents cost taxpayers $4.1 million and that New York also had spent $3 million for 300 new bridge warning signs and “efforts to educate truck drivers in the past five years.”

He said a New York Bridge Strike Mitigation Task Force has also worked with GPS companies to implement changes to alleviate the problem.

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