Multimillion-pound satnav scheme to stop lorry drivers getting stuck under bridges

Multimillion-pound satnav scheme to stop lorry drivers getting stuck under bridges
Fewer lorries could soon be getting stuck on narrow roads or under low-lying bridges thanks to a new database being created for satnavs.

The new resource is being created by Ordnance Survey at a cost of millions of pounds and will include information about some 200,000 miles of road.

Due to be completed before the end of the year, the National Digital Road Map database will include information about road widths, weight restrictions, bridge heights and restrictions on left or right turns at junctions.

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However, as satnav manufacturers will have to pay to use the system, there is some concern over how widespread adoption of it will be.

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“The new database will provide the satnav manufacturers with the ability to make journeys for HGV drivers safer and more cost-efficient and that's a big issue for us,” said Richard Burnett, the chief executive of industry body the Road Haulage Association.

“However, the new technology can only be considered a real success if each of the satnav providers sign up to the new system.”

A number of manufacturers already sign up to some of Ordnance Survey’s other products, including some of the bigger names such as Garmin.

Ordnance Survey says it charges less than 1p per device for access to its existing information, adding there will also be a free-to-use version of the new system, though this will not feature some of the most essential information.

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To help fund the system, which local councils will be responsible for maintaining, the Department for Transport is contributing £3million of taxpayer money.

The completed database could be available from as early as November 16, Ordnance Survey spokesman Robert Andrews said.

He added: “The definitive data, which also includes information on speed limits and planned road maintenance, delivers a product which will enable more efficient routing for all road users, including HGVs.”

While road signs currently provide information on areas like bridge height, it is thought that the reliance on satnav systems stops many drivers taking notice.

In addition, as a large proportion of lorry drivers come from overseas, many observers believe some may have problems fully understanding the signs.

One lorry driver was caught out earlier this month in a safety crackdown organised by police forces across the country.

He was filmed from a specially adapted HGV cab using two mobile phones while behind the wheel on the M6 in Cheshire.

Copyright Press Association 2016. Motoring News articles do not reflect the RAC's views unless clearly stated.