Remarks by Bill Bronrott
FMCSA Deputy Administrator
Navigation Systems Webinar
Thursday, May 16, 2013
Good afternoon, everyone. I am Bill Bronrott, Deputy Administrator of the Federal
Motor Carrier Safety Administration at the U.S. Department of Transportation.
I am very pleased to be part of this webinar because, at FMCSA, bus and truck safety
our mission and our top priority.
The crossroads of technology and education is the focus of much of our efforts.
Unfortunately, we are seeing too many instances of trucks and buses operating without
the right navigation systems crashing into bridge overpasses, causing deaths, injuries,
and serious infrastructure and property damage.
FMCSA is eager to work with you and all of our stakeholders to put the bright spotlight
on preventing this problem – especially because it’s largely preventable.
That is why our message today for commercial motor vehicle drivers is to never use
non-commercial GPS devices. It is critically important that every carrier and every
driver knows that not every navigation system is the same. We have seen too many
times when the use of non-commercial devices have led to large trucks and buses
being routed right into collisions with low-clearance overpasses and bridges.
A typical system that a consumer might buy at an electronics or auto parts store
might not have critical software programming to show low bridges, hazmat-restricted
or weight-restricted routes, and other information relevant to commercial vehicle
I encourage you to visit FMCSA's webpage [Cue to show FMCSA home page] --
fmcsa.dot.gov -- to check out our education and outreach section where you can find
valuable information on how to choose the right navigation system for your commercial
As you can see on our web page, we have also created a quick-and-easy read visor
card that provides carriers and drivers with tips for choosing the right navigation
system and on the safe use of these systems. [Cue to show visor card page]
If you use a navigation system that does not provide this important information,
the shortcut you thought would save you time and fuel may end up costing you more
than you bargained for.
As we know, we’ve all seen too many crashes due to trucks and buses striking low
overpasses. In New York State alone, trucks and buses struck bridges 255 times last
According to local police agencies, as many as 80 percent of these bridge hits were
caused by drivers who rely on basic consumer-grade navigation systems that are not
programmed to alert them to bridge heights, roadway weight limits, and hazmat restricted
When planning routes for truck and bus trips, we urge all commercial drivers to
choose a navigation system that allows you to consider:
- First, your vehicle’s length, width and height;
- Second, your axle weight; and
- Third, any hazardous materials being hauled.
It comes down to using the right device, following the recommended route, and obeying
traffic directional signs. It's also about avoiding typing or entering addresses
or other information into a GPS device while driving. And above all, don’t drive
while texting or using a cell phone. We know that drivers who take their eyes off
the road for 4.6 seconds while traveling at 55mph cover the equivalent of the length
of a football field – again without even looking at the roadway!
By using commercial grade GPS systems AND avoiding all forms of distracted driving,
we can prevent a lot of needless and costly crashes and property damage, preserve
our infrastructure, and save lives. FMCSA will continue to raise awareness among
CMV drivers and carriers about the critical importance of using the right navigation
systems. We want commercial drivers to know exactly how to operate safely from their
first day behind the wheel. That is why we will consider including information about
navigation systems in the entry-level driver training rulemaking that is part of
I want to thank DOT’s Research and Innovative Technology Administration, ATRI, ATA,
and each of you participating in this forum for your partnership in putting safety
first and using the right navigational system for the safest possible route.
# # #