Forty bridge crashes a week 'caused by sat-nav faults', says GovernmentEver found yourself stuck in stationary traffic because a lorry has wedged under a low bridge? Chances are that the driver’s satellite navigation system led him or her astray. The Department for Transport says sat-nav systems mis-directed 2000 drivers last year and sent their vehicles crashing into bridge parapets.

The result? Damage amounting to £10m a year, and 5000 hours of delays while the emerge4ncy services clear up the damage. Most sat-navs use professionally produced mapping sofrtware. But amazingly, there is no independent standard set for the quality of the information they carry. Nor need they make any allowance for the size of the vehicle they are guiding, and that’s how mistakes creep in.

The Department for Transport is drawing up guidelines to combat the problem and set minimum standards for route guidance. Under the guidelines, satellite navigation developers should provide safe routes for large or heavy vehicles, for which their products will receive a kitemark safety award.

Stephen Jury


March 26, 2008