Tuesday, January 27, 2015

GPS Provider Sued in Landmark Case

Accident Cause to be Determined by Court
Shipping News Feature

US – The latest story emerging from America will only reinforce the impression which many outsiders have that this is the land of the lawsuit. Our picture shows Philadelphia firemen atop a bus involved in an accident on 2 February 2013. The bus ploughed into a bridge which was too low for the vehicle resulting in injuries to eleven people who are now suing all and sundry, including the manufacturers of the GPS systems utilised by the driver.

The bus carried 42 students and chaperones from the Destined for a Dream Foundation, which assists underprivileged youths, on a return trip from Harvard University where they had spent the day. The lawsuit raised by the eleven cites not only the bus owner and driver and the organisation responsible for the signage and road maintenance, the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, plus the bus manufacturer and, of particular interest, the manufacturers of the satellite navigation device(s), according to local press both TomTom and Garmin, for guiding the driver via an inappropriate route ‘in disregard of a foreseeable and foreseen risk’.

The case will bring into question the responsibility of a driver with regard to observation. If the height signage is considered adequate by the Court then the judgement may set an interesting precedent. Freight and passenger vehicles are involved in many such incidents worldwide with one YouTube offering receiving almost 2.5 million hits showing only bridge related accidents.

In this particular case one of the key issues will be the type or types of GPS devices being used. Are they truck/bus specific and, if so, were they programmed correctly for the size of the vehicle? If these question are answered satisfactorily the Court will need to decide if the information supplied is in some way guaranteed to be accurate and adequate warning of impending problems suitably indicated to the driver.