"One of the best decisions I had ever made"
- Joseph Lugo
A lost driver of a tractor-trailer ended up on a pedestrian bridge in the middle of a Milwaukee park. The driver told police his GPS navigation system led him there, reported ABC News (11.14.14).
The driver steered the truck onto a walkway in and over two bridges. Apparently, the driver had to drive over service roads and gravel roads before reaching the bridges. He damaged some trees and the railings on both foot bridges.
The driver, 50, was fined for reckless driving and failure to obey signs, police said, according to ABC.
Many drivers rely on GPS navigation systems and have used it to replace maps as the easiest way to navigate. However, there are more and more reports about the devices routing users into lakes, onto train tracks, down closed roads, or the wrong way on a one-way street. In separate incidents in 2008, two Metro-North trains collided with cars whose drivers did what they were told by their GPS units. Without question they followed the devices instruction to “turn right” onto train tracks in Westchester County, NY, reported The New York Times (9.30.08).
Dependence on GPS devices can result in an increased risk for accidents if drivers rely more on what their device tells them and less on their common sense or their own eyes.
One of the most common human errors when it comes to using a GPS unit is overconfidence in the intelligence of a navigation system. GPS devices are fallible, due in part to possible satellite communication errors and outdated or inaccurate maps. Even when maps are current, some mapping and navigation information does not take into account road types.
Of course, there are some drivers who may blame a GPS for their mistakes when, in reality, their driving is to blame. Driver inattention and distraction increase accident risk. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimated that driver distraction plays a role in approximately 16 percent of motor vehicle traffic crashes in 2012.
In most cases GPS navigation systems can get a driver to his or her destination safely. However, drivers need to help prevent accidents linked to the devices. A GPS should be prepped before a trip to avoid the distraction of adjusting it while driving.
Drivers must always pay attention to their surroundings and road signs. A GPS may be convenient but it should not become a distraction and it does not replace common sense. If things do not look right, they probably are not right.
Individuals who have sustained an injury in a truck accident may have the right to recover compensation for their losses.
The ABC News story cited is “Man drives semi over 2 pedestrian bridges, gets stuck, blames GPS.”