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Lack of driver attention contributes to some crashes as well

Maps and even printouts of Google Maps directions became obsolete when affordable global positioning systems (GPS) hit the market. But users in the state of Washington are now questioning these devices after being led off bridges and into unknown territories that are nowhere near their desired destinations.

According to the Washington State Department of Transportation, 623 collisions occurred within the state from 2006 to 2010 due to GPS units/computers. Two of these collisions were fatal. 

Washington has had many GPS-related issues in the recent past. For instance, three women from Mexico used a GPS system to navigate their way to an Embassy Suites in Bellevue's Eastgate area. They were in town for a Costco convention, and when driving back to the Embassy Suites in their Mercedes SUV around midnight, they turned onto Interstate 90 West instead of East, and made a turn off Bellevue Way Southeast. They were then led down the Sweyolocken boat ramp into Mercer Slough. The vehicle sank, but the passengers got away safely and slightly drenched. 

Another user led astray was Paul Unwin, an avid GPS user from Seattle. When traveling to a stargazing party in a desert outside Tucson, Arizona, the GPS led him 10 to 15 miles down a strange and rough road with cacti lying across the path. 

"I thought, 'Let's punch it into the GPS and it'll take us there,'" said Unwin. "It reminds me that you can't always trust what the GPS is telling you, and if you're unsure of the area, take a little extra bit of caution."

While a GPS system can be blamed for certain mishaps, there are other occasions where the driver is too busy looking at the system instead of paying attention to the road. For instance, a charter bus driver crashed into a bridge in Seattle's Washington Park Arboretum while using a GPS in April 2008. The bus driver failed to see the flashing yellow lights and the signs indicating the low bridge down the road, and 20 students from the Garfield High School softball team were hospitalized. 

Carly Baltes of Garmin International further expressed driver responsibility, saying that GPS units cannot be blamed. She also pointed out that manuals tell drivers not to plug new coordinates in while driving, which could be a fatal distraction.

"GPS devices provide route suggestions," said Baltes. "They do not cause drivers to make driving decisions."

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RE: Yeah, right.
By omnicronx on 6/20/2011 1:16:50 PM , Rating: 2
This was covered in the news, and GPS or not, I truly don't understand how these woman pulled this off.

They didn't merely drive off a cliff or ledge into a swamp, they drove straight off an angled boat launch. That most likely means they were travelling quite fast and made little or not attempt to stop as most launches are quick angled and allow your tires to enter several feet into the water. (especially for a truck or SUV)..

Here is a picture either before its almost submerged or while they are pulling it out..

and here the sad image of it being almost completely submerged..

Sad... sooo, sooo sad...

RE: Yeah, right.
By Solandri on 6/20/2011 2:41:29 PM , Rating: 2
My guess would be they were urbanites who've never been offroad, who figured since they were in an SUV a little water wouldn't be a problem.

RE: Yeah, right.
By adiposity on 6/20/2011 5:52:48 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, they probably thought it was just high water and would get through it. When they realized it was up to their doors it was already too late.

RE: Yeah, right.
By Reclaimer77 on 6/20/2011 3:44:07 PM , Rating: 1
I truly don't understand how these woman pulled this off.

They were from Mexico, nuff said. If you had ever been there, you would understand.

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