A large part of the haulage industry involves travelling along unfamiliar routes. To make life easier, many drivers of lorries, vans, trucks and other large vehicles have used off-the-shelf sat-nav systems to help them navigate unknown areas.
However, there are now calls from the Local Government Association (LGA) to ban the use of typical sat-navs in larger vehicles after several instances of being directed to low bridges and narrow roads. Instead, the LGA wants to see legislation brought in to ensure such vehicles use navigation systems specifically designed to avoid roads with height or weight restrictions.
Up and down the country, numerous reports have detailed lorries and trucks that have been involved in collisions with bridges. This includes one particular railway bridge in Hinckley, Leicestershire which has been hit 11 times in the last 12 months.
There are already commercial GPS systems available, which are specifically designed for large vehicle owners. These systems include additional information on narrow roads, weight limits and height restrictions in the relevant areas, and can warn or re-route drivers accordingly.
The problem is that these systems can be fairly expensive to implement, leading many commercial drivers to plump for the cheaper alternative. These new calls, however, could see councils across England and Wales enforcing commercial nav systems across all large vehicle drivers.
A spokesman for the LGA, Martin Tett, argued: “It is common sense that all lorry drivers should use sat-navs designed for trucks, but this is only going to become a reality when it is a mandatory requirement.” He also noted that the cost of these devices is likely to be the reason why many commercial drivers don’t adopt them.
Navigation systems intended for commercial drivers only carry a small extra cost, which acts a sound investment, especially in cases where vehicles suffer extensive damage after encountering low bridges and narrow roads.