More than 80 years ago, the legendary urban planner Robert Moses envisioned a system of New York state parkways free of commercial trucks and other heavy vehicles, where drivers could enjoy leisurely trips through scenic ribbons of natural land. The overpasses were built low to ensure that only passenger cars could get by.
But the rise of satellite-based navigation is causing new problems with these vestiges of the New Deal era, officials said.
Global positioning systems now frequently guide truck drivers onto the parkways, where they collide with overpasses as low as six feet, 11 inches high, according to U.S. Senator Charles Schumer of New York, who is calling for new regulations to prevent the accidents.
Schumer said trucks have crashed into overpasses in New York state more than 200 times each year since 2005. GPS devices contributed to 80 % of those accidents because they do not distinguish between cars and trucks and do not keep truck drivers off roads where tall vehicles are prohibited, he said.
On Monday, the senator called for a federal investigation into the problem and for the U.S. Department of Transportation to come up with GPS standards that prevent the devices from guiding trucks onto restricted parkways.