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Global Positioning System Expert:
Cheap GPS System
May Have Cost Truck Driver Thousands

Trucking Data Expert Witness / Motor Carrier Standard of Care Expert Witness Articles

By Scott Greene

Fifty-six-year-old Francisco Amarales a truck driver, from Hialeah, Florida, took a wrong turn and ended up in jail. Why? Because the Truck Driver turned on to a street with a lower max weight limit than he expected which may have been a result of poor information from a cheap GPS system.

GPS Navigation Screen - GPS Expert WitnessTrucking GPS Expert Witness

Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, police say he was trying to deliver gas drilling pipe on a rural road in neighboring Cecil Township, PA., but wound up driving his 40-ton rig onto a borough street with a 10-ton limit. Canonsburg police officer Scott Bashioum noticed the fully loaded truck had pulled onto a road which had only a 10-ton weight limit. The officer stopped the truck and determined the weight of the vehicle in a nearby vacant lot.

The driver appeared before a judge who imposed a fine of over $17,000, even though no damage was done to the roadway. In addition, the judge refused to release the truck driver from jail until he paid at least $10,000 of the fine. The judge also had the vehicle impounded and refused to release the semi-truck and trailer until the full fine was paid.

The director of safety for the Pennsylvania Motor Truck Association, Kevin Stewart, indicated the initial fine was based on the weight of the truck. The truck weight was 59,346 pounds over the 10-ton weight limit. 

Unable to pay the fine, the Florida trucker was jailed for 4 days before he could negotiate a release. The judge finally agreed to accept a payment of only $850 for his release. The judge also agreed to reduce the fine to $8500. Mr. Amarales’ semi-tractor and trailer were released as well after a check for the full fine was over-nighted to the office of the judge.

Amarales was using a non-commercial GPS product when he made the wrong turn. In addition, the Canonsburg Police also indicated he also may have confused Alpine Street and Alpine Drive. Police say the whole thing might have been avoided if the trucker had used a better GPS device.

“It has been happening more and more that these drivers are using the $60 system,” said Bashioum. “The commercial GPS is programmed to keep truck or bus drivers off roads with 10-ton weight limits.”

Amarales was driving for A. J. Logistics Transport Inc., of Concord, North Carolina at the time.

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