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10/26/2009 11:00:00 AM Write a Letter to the Editor Write a letter to the Editor

N.Y. Seeks to Require Truck-Specific GPS Following Several Collisions With Bridges

By Michele Fuetsch, Staff Reporter

This article appears in the Oct. 26 print edition of Transport Topics. Click here to subscribe today.

New York Gov. David Paterson (D) has proposed requiring truck drivers there to use only Global Positioning System devices that are equipped with truck route information to keep them off restricted roads.

The legislation, which was proposed Oct. 14, is intended to keep trucks off restricted roads where they wind up hitting bridges too low for their vehicles to pass under.

In a quest for faster routes, truckers are using automobile GPS devices that do not have truck routes, Paterson said.

“Today, we put an end to bridge strikes by preventing truck drivers from illegally straying onto parkways and other restricted roads,” Paterson said in a press statement.

The governor said there have been 46 bridge strikes this year just in Westchester County, north of New York City.

The bill doesn’t require truckers to use GPS units, merely that if they do, the devices should be specifically for trucks. It also would direct the state Department of Transportation to create an approved list of GPS devices truck drivers could use while traveling New York roads.

Drivers who use nonapproved devices would be fined up to $500, imprisoned for as many as 15 days and have their trucks impounded.

Paterson’s proposal prompted opposition from trucking industry leaders.

“They can’t impose an equipment requirement on out-of-state vehicles,” said Kendra Adams, executive director of the New York State Motor Association. Interstate trucking is regulated by the federal government, she said.

Clayton Boyce, spokesman for American Trucking Associations, said it was unclear if — or how — ATA member firms would be affected if the Paterson proposal became law.

Most trucking companies already use GPS services specifically designed for trucks so they are routed away from restricted roads and around low-clearance dangers, Boyce said.

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