Computers have not supplanted a truck driver’s responsibility for where his or her truck goes. Truckers must understand that blaming a truck accident on their GPS unit does not fly.
Tyler, TX (PRWEB) November 16, 2012
Tyler truck accident lawyer Randell C. “Randy” Roberts said today that commercial carriers need to ensure their drivers have GPS navigation systems designed for truck routes, but cautioned that tractor-trailer drivers will continue to be held responsible for collisions with low-clearance bridges and other accidents that result from bad routing decisions.
Roberts, founder of the East Texas personal injury law firm of Roberts & Roberts, reacted to multiple inquiries into the role of truckers’ GPS navigation systems in truck accidents.
U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York recently called on the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to investigate how some truckers’ reliance on GPS units is resulting in “bridge strikes” and other truck accidents. Meanwhile, the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) is surveying truck drivers and trucking companies about their reliance on GPS navigation systems.
“There are GPS systems available that are specifically designed to depict trucking routes that take commercial vehicle restrictions into consideration,” said Roberts, whose firm assists people who have been injured in 18-wheeler accidents in Texas and throughout the country.
“We encourage motor carriers to obtain proper GPS systems and the companies that make these systems to ensure that they show hazards like low-clearance bridges or exceptionally narrow roadways,” he said. “But truckers must understand that blaming a truck accident on their GPS unit does not fly.”
TruckingInfo.com, the website of Heavy Duty Trucking magazine, reports “mounting anecdotal evidence” that GPS navigation units are being blamed for large truck crashes, including bridge strikes and other crashes in which the truck driver was using a navigation system designed for passenger vehicles. The effect that these devices have on driver behavior, decision-making and safety is not fully understood, the magazine says.
ATRI’s online survey of truck drivers and motor carriers asks both groups about use of and attitudes toward GPS systems.
Sen. Schumer has written to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood to urge an investigation into the incidence of bridge strikes by trucks. He also suggested that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration should consider developing federal standards for the use of GPS technology in commercial trucks. Schumer announced his request while standing in front of a Buffalo, N.Y., bridge with a 12-foot clearance that has been struck by trucks 32 times in the past few years, according to a National Public Radio report.
“We expect both the DOT inquiry and the ATRI survey to show that motor carriers that equip their drivers with appropriate GPS systems have fewer truckers involved in bridge strikes and similar accidents,” Roberts said. “Carriers that leave it to the driver to use GPS systems meant for passenger cars are likely to be identified as the source of many of these problems.”
Roberts added that truck drivers -- and not machines -- are ultimately responsible for avoiding accidents, even if truckers use appropriate GPS systems. “Computers have not supplanted a truck driver’s responsibility for where his or her truck goes,” the veteran Longview truck accident attorney said.
Roberts said that, while GPS systems designed for commercial trucks are considered reliable, the instruments should be investigated in the event of a truck accident where the truck’s route was an issue and a GPS unit was in use.
“There are many systems on tractor-trailers these days, and there are multiple factors to be investigated when accountability for injury or death in a truck accident is considered,” he said. “Truck accidents can be very complicated, and it takes knowledge of the industry to protect the rights of people who have been hurt in such a wreck.”
Roberts said that anyone who has been injured in a Texas truck accident should contact a truck accident attorney experienced in Texas courts and with Texas trucking companies as soon as possible.
About Roberts & Roberts
Roberts & Roberts is an East Texas personal injury law firm with a history of helping injured people across the United States. Most of the firm’s attorneys are board certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in personal injury law or civil trial law. They have been featured numerous times by national and local media outlets, including MSNBC, Fox News, CNN, ABC, Time, Newsweek and the Wall Street Journal. The firm’s practice areas include auto, truck and motorcycle accidents; defective products; workplace accidents; premises liability claims; oilfield accidents and more. Roberts & Roberts represents clients from across Texas and throughout the country, with a particular focus on the communities of Tyler and Longview. The firm’s Tyler office is located at 118 West 4th Street, Tyler, Texas 75701 (local phone (903) 597-6000). To learn more about the Texas personal injury lawyers of Roberts & Roberts, call (888) 398-7618 or use the firm’s online contact form.