Top Stories 2012: Increased Bridge Strikes On Westchester Parkways

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Despite increased signage and warnings, wayward trucks continue to strike bridges in Westchester County. Photo Credit: Zak Failla

EASTCHESTER, N.Y. – The Daily Voice will lead into the new year by counting down, in no particular order, the top 10 stories from 2012.

In recent years, an alarming amount of tractor-trailers have been striking overpasses on Westchester County parkways, at a rate of more than one per week.

In most cases, truck drivers are using GPS devices designed for passenger vehicles, not a commercial device that wouldn’t take the tractor-trailers onto county parkways.

Despite increased signage and pavement markings warning drivers that commercial vehicles are not permitted on the parkway, there were 62 bridge collisions in 2012 as of Dec. 3, the highest total in five years.

“The goal was to add another layer of warnings for truck drivers that trucks are not permitted on parkways. They are intended to let trucks know they need to get off that particular parkway,” O’Leary said. “In all bridge strikes, the driver has driven past a number of signs, usually because they are not paying attention and are relying solely on the GPS.”

There have been 668 bridge strikes in the past two decades, prompting U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D) to urge the U.S. Department of Transportation to regulate GPS devices for truck drivers in September.

In a study, the senator found misused GPS devices caused 80 percent of bridge strikes.

“Drivers often say they didn’t know not to get on the roads, and then often say that the GPS led them there,” he said on Sept. 24. “These devices are set the same for a five-foot-high Taurus or a 15-foot tractor-trailer. I’m putting the onus on the trucking companies and the DOT to make sure that the trucking industry does this.”

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