The Local Government Association (LGA) wants all lorry drivers that rely on satnavs for directions should use commercial models.
This comes after a lorry crashed into a bridge close to Birmingham last week.
“There has been a spate of recent accidents involving lorry drivers driving irresponsibly and causing chaos,” said LGA transport spokesman Cllr Martin Tett. “The government must start taking this issue more seriously and give councils the legislative tools to help their communities and other motorists.”
Tett said that it is common sense for all lorry drivers to use satnavs designed for trucks, but that this could only become a reality if it was a “mandatory requirement”.
“ We are talking about a very small extra cost to drivers,” he added. “Lorry drivers who get wedged in narrow roads or under bridges not only endanger themselves, other road users and pedestrians, but also cause massive disruption. This has a significant impact on local economies, particularly in rural areas.”
Beverly Wise of TomTom Telematics said that technology has advanced so much in the last two to three years that many operators who have been in the industry for a long time might not be aware of the technologies available to them.
Talking about the LGA’s proposal for legislation to make the use of truck specific satnavs compulsory, she said:“I think it’s a good move, it certainly would create a much better environment for all road users, but also it would ensure HGV operators are optimising their routes and business by ensuring they are going in the right direction and route.”
The Road Haulage Association said it agreed with the LGA on the point that satnavs designed for cars are not suitable for use in heavy goods vehicles. But it did not back the proposal for legislation to make it mandatory for all truck drivers to use commercial devices.
“Surely using the right sat-nav system for the right vehicle is a matter of common sense,” said RHA chief executive Richard Burnett. “HGV-specific sat-nav systems have the ability to make journeys for HGV drivers safer and more cost-efficient and that’s a big issue for us. But, we remain firm in our view that these systems should only be used as a driving aid.
“Drivers should pay attention to road signs at all times.”