The latest truck friendly satellite navigation unit should put paid to those over-familiar stories of lorry drivers coming unstuck down narrow roads, or under low bridges, after using satnav units designed for cars. The TomTom PRO7100 Truck, which is now available from leading trade body the Freight Transport Association (FTA), is the product of close collaboration between the satnav companies and the industry and directly answers recent government calls for a solution to the chaos and damage that can be caused by misdirected lorry drivers.
FTA’s Head of Road Freight Policy, James Firth, said:
"Obviously, FTA wants to ensure that the products it stocks are top notch so, without any governmental influence, we worked closely with the satnav industry over the past few years to develop and refine a better ‘truck-nav’; the TomTom PRO7100 Truck is it. This particular unit has been rigorously tested by FTA and, following a recent plea from the transport minister for government to engage with satnav companies to solve the problem of inappropriate satnav routing, we hope this helps to reassure Government that a perfectly robust solution already exists."
In 2009, Norman Baker MP, now a transport minister, identified 20 routes in England and Wales which he considered were suffering from heavy goods vehicles being misdirected along them by satnavs and causing all sorts of costly and unsafe logistical issues. Following thorough testing and analysis, FTA is satisfied that with the TomTom PRO7100 Truck, there would be no problem with inappropriate routing of trucks along any of these ‘hotspots’.
"It was over three years ago that FTA challenged the satellite navigation industry to develop a product aimed at HGVs. The result is a product that will help drivers avoid obstacles, save money and time, protect buildings and infrastructure and prevent chaos along our urban and rural road networks."
All drivers have to do is enter their vehicle’s weight and dimensions into the unit and it will plan a route based on appropriate clearance heights, weight restrictions, speed restrictions and problematic sharp turns. Crucially, the unit also provides appropriate routing even in the absence of statutory restrictions. Indeed, of the 20 ‘hotspots’ identified by Mr Baker, only one of them was due to a statutory restriction, in this case a low bridge.
The unit can be adapted to suit a variety of different size vehicles, even caravans and motorcaravans, and a map share function allows drivers to make corrections to their map by adding their own access restriction information.
"There are a few models on the market right now but there is nothing to stop manufacturers from testing the efficacy of their own units against those roads identified by Mr Baker. This way we would hope to see even more choice for commercial vehicle operators looking for a reliable solution.
"However, we would issue the caveat that although the latest technology is now extremely dependable, drivers must not over-rely on these units to make their decisions for them. Ultimately, there can be no substitute for common sense and driver awareness."