GPS to blame for mulch spillage on W Road?

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Reported by: Erik Avanier
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Updated: 4/22/2013 7:28 pm
HAMILTON COUNTY, Tennessee(WDEF) - Soon after it was reported that the driver of a semi truck whose trailer flipped on W road was using a car GPS instead of a commercial trucking GPS, questions about the difference in those devices started to surface.

On Sunday morning, truck Driver James Bankhead was driving down a road not designed for 18-wheelers. When the tires of the trailer hauling mulch got caught in a ditch as the truck was making a sharp turn around a curve, the trailer flipped and caused 30,000 pounds of mulch to spill onto the roadway.

WDEF asked Bankhead if he realized there were signs posted that clearly said the road was closed and that semi trucks are prohibited,

"I saw the sign down there but the GPS kept taking up that way and I was trying to get to my destination," Bankhead said.

An investigation revealed that Bankhead was using a GPS device normally used in cars and other non-commercial vehicles.

Authorities said he should have been using a GPS device designed specifically for truckers.

WDEF hung out a local truck stop to talk to truckers about the navigation devices they use and the difference between a commercial trucking GPS and a non-commercial GPS.

"The ones for the trucking industry specifies low bridges, overweight roads and roads that hazmat trucks can't be on and will direct you around those," said trucker Don Cole.

A non-commercial GPS found in everyday cars doesn't recognize hazardous routes and will only direct drivers from point A to point B.

Commercial trucking GPS systems are more expensive than a regular GPS but the expense is far less than the cost of cleaning up a mess like the one created when Bankhead's trailer flipped over.

But is the GPS totally to blame when a road sign clearly warned semi-truck drivers about not entering W Road?

"If the GPS tells you to turn right here and I'm looking at that road and I see signs that say no trucks then I'm not going to listen to that GPS because it's not going to keep me from getting that ticket when I turn up that road," Cole said

In this case, the GPS may have told Bankhead to travel onto W road but it was not an excuse to get out of two citation he received for ignoring two road signs.

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