Illinois Gov Pat Quinn has signed legislation aimed at enhancing truck safety in the state by making truck routing and restrictions more accessible to the commercial trucking industry. The new law also provides a program to educate professional truck drivers about the differences between truck and car GPS devices.
House Bill 1377, now signed into law, was the result of recommendations made by a state of Illinois task force charged with investigating the use of GPS technology as well as compliance with the Designated Truck Route System.
Among other things, the new law, which goes into effect January 1, 2012, requires local jurisdictions to provide the most up-to-date truck route information to the Illinois Department of Transportation, which in turn will post this information online.
The state task force, consisting of government and industry representatives, made three recommendations that are part of the legislation:
1) Merge databases containing key truck routing data such as overpasses and legal restrictions
2) Require local jurisdictions to report their designated truck networks and preferred routes via a simplified reporting process
3) Educate truck drivers on the differences between GPS devices designed for trucks and those used in cars.
With the signing of this law, truck-specific restrictions for Illinois municipalities will now become more transparent to the public as well as to manufacturers of products for the commercial transportation industry. In addition, by educating truckers on appropriate routing for trucks (in contrast to routing for cars), this law is intended to increase safety on the roads and decrease the potential for dangerous bridge strikes that cause traffic congestion and infrastructure damage.
“The difference between a truck-specific GPS and a device designed for car routing is significant,” said Rep Michael Zalewski, task force chairman and state representative for the 21st Illinois Congressional District. “Using the appropriate ‘tool’ for the job will benefit the citizens of Illinois by reducing accidents, congestion, and the costs of repairing infrastructure damaged by accidents involving commercial vehicles.”
John McAvoy, director of engineering for Rand McNally, was one of nine members of the task force appointed to make recommendations to the Illinois State Assembly.
“There is a significant gap between what is readily available, and what should be reported and made available for manufacturers, to utilize in providing accurate truck-specific routing. Providing vital height and weight information in an easily accessible format will benefit all who share the road,” said McAvoy.