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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

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association issued a statement that said Paterson’s proposed mandate for enhanced GPS devices would unfairly punish the majority of truckers, do nothing to improve safety and ultimately hurt consumers.

“The governor is doing a great job of pushing New York to the top of the list of places where truckers least want to do business,” OOIDA legislative director Mike Joyce said.

Adams and state transportation officials agreed that most of the bridge strikes occur on the state’s pastoral parkway system, which dates to the 1920s and is made up of development-free, shoulderless highways punctuated by low arched brick and stone bridges.

Trucks never have been allowed on the parkway road system, which has signs at all the entrances saying trucks are prohibited.

Skip Carrier, a spokesman for the state DOT, said the parkways were “designed for a different era, for sort of leisurely driving on a Sunday” but are still part of today’s road network and therefore “available for use by people who don’t bother to read the signs and are getting on them and then finding they have a problem.”

Carrier also said the state knows GPS devices are the primary factor in the bridge strikes because the New York State Police did a study.

When the police analyzed the accident records, they found that in 81% of the incidents, when asked why the truck was on the parkway, the driver said the GPS device routed him that way, Carrier said.

Adams is a member of a state committee established early this year to study the growing bridge-strike problem. She said the committee found that the accidents are caused mostly by out-of-state drivers. Truckers located in the state know the parkways are restricted, she said.

Adams also said Paterson surprised the bridge-strike committee by coming up with a proposal before the group had completed its work and made recommendations.

Adams added that she doubted the proposed GPS legislation will pass legal muster because federal interstate commerce rules trump state initiatives.

NYDOT’s Carrier, however, said the governor’s legal team has considered that issue and is still pressing ahead with a proposal it believes would address GPS routing problems.

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