posted 3 years ago

MP Calls For Sat-Nav Law Change To Stop Cars Ploughing Into Water

MP proposes sat-nav law change to stop motorists following unsuitable routes and getting stuck under low bridges/in rivers.

Sat-Nav Law Change to Stop Drivers Taking Inappropriate Routes

The law should change to prevent sat-nav systems recommending routes that get vehicles stuck under low bridges or impeded by hazards such as rivers, a Member of Parliament said.

Ian Liddell-Grainger – the Conservative representative of West Somerset and Bridgwater – told the House of Commons that sat-nav should “provide real-time updates on route suitability and traffic management measures”.

He explained: "The purpose of my Bill is quite simple: it's to stop heavy lorries getting stuck under low bridges, on roads far too narrow for their trailers, up perilous mountains, across boggy fields or headlong, in one or two cases, into rivers.”

Mr Liddell-Grainger explained: "I admire the wizardry of sat-navs but I'm painfully aware it doesn't always work.” He joked that if his colleagues rely on such technology to find the tea room they could end up in the River Thames.

He requested a Bill that requires the Secretary of State to establish a scheme that forces providers, of mobile sat-nav services, to offer customers incentives to provide real-time updates that help others stick to suitable roads.

Sat-Nav Disaster Stories

Mr Liddell-Grainger cited various occasions when sat-nav led motorists into trouble. He claimed that in Hampton Loade it: “Has been sending drivers straight into the River Severn.

Motorists suffered a similar fate in Wiltshire, Norfolk and Leicestershire. He added: “A cheery voice confidently tells drivers to go straight on, and then, suddenly — splash!” Other drivers hit trouble even without water. ”The worst example I have found was from Wadebridge (Cornwall), where a Belgian truck driver was directed by his sat-nav into an unsuitable cul-de-sac, tried to reverse out and - quite impressively - demolished a roundabout and 6 parked cars”, he said. 

Such incidents are far from isolated. The MP said: “A Czech lorry driver had similar problems in Ivybridge (Devon). His lorry was wedged down a narrow lane for three days, with him stuck inside.” Furthermore, “The whole of Bruton high street in Somerset was shut for 24 hours after another foreign vehicle misjudged its width - having been urged on by the soothing voice of his navigational aid.” 

The politician – who entered the House of Commons in June 2001 - added that a coach filled with pensioners: “Was on its way for a jolly day trip to the village of Stroat, Gloucestershire, when the driver - who was slavishly following the sat-nav - got stuck.”

The pensioners then had to walk through several ploughed fields to reach their destination.