GPS technology and the pressure to deliver loads have transformed many quiet residential roads into trucking routes. Some of these roads do not allow trucks yet semi-truck drivers use them anyway. Truck restrictions usually center on the vehicle’s weight and dimensions. Overweight trucks place undue stress on local bridges, accelerate their wear, and cause damage.
Oversize trucks are a traffic hazard when their excessive lengths cause them to use more than one lane when rounding curves on narrow roads. Excessive height causes low clearance collisions when the truck becomes wedged or loses its trailer roof beneath an overpass or bridge. This damages road infrastructure and presents a hazard to nearby traffic.
These roads, whether or not they can handle a truck’s size or weight, simply were not meant for them. These are small residential roads with family cars backing out of driveways and children riding their bicycles. Why are trucks using them?
GPS systems are commonly used to get around these days, and truckers are well aware of the technology’s ability to find shorter and quicker routes to destinations. These short cuts bypass busy and congested interstate highways and urban areas.
There are also truck specific GPS devices that display compatible routes based on a truck’s type, weight, and dimensions. However, these tend to be expensive, costing $400 to $900 or more. This causes some truck drivers to use the basic GPS meant for the driving public. These however, merely find the shortest route and lead truckers onto truck-prohibited roads. The expense of truck specific GPS also prevents some trucking companies from providing their drivers with them.
Failure to Verify GPS Information
GPS devices, even those meant for trucks, don’t always provide accurate information. They may send the driver down roads with inadequate bridges and height clearances. Some have been known to designate one-way roads as two-way. Saying that the “GPS sent them there” is not an excuse. The driver should use a trucker’s atlas to verify the GPS route recommendation.
Failure to Spot Signs
Truck drivers may fail to see signs that prohibit truck use when turning onto a road. The reasons for this include a busy intersection, poor sign location, driver distraction or inattention, and blindly following GPS directions without looking for signs.
Making Local Deliveries
This is a legitimate reason for truck driving in residential areas. However, the driver must exercise caution in these areas and avoid bridges too small for their weight and overpasses with low clearances.