When GPS systems cause car accidents: women end up in Bellevue’s Mercer Slough

Three women visiting Bellevue from Mexico for a Costco convention took a wrong turn on Bellevue Way and ended up in Mercer Slough reports The Bellevue Reporter. The culprit for the wrong turn? GPS directions. The women apparently followed the GPS directions and drove down the Sweylocken Boat Launch off of Bellevue Way and into Mercer Slough.
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GPS navigation systems have become ubiquitous throughout the U.S. as the systems are built into cars, on cell phones or available as stand-alone devices. GPS — Global Positioning System — is a set of satellites which communicate to a device’s navigation software to help pinpoint the device location. The software also has mapping and navigation software which can suggest driving directions, routes around traffic jams or help find local landmarks like hotels or gas stations.

The Bellevue accident is not the first time a GPS system has been known to cause a car or truck accident. The reason is that drivers are increasingly relying on these devices and they ignore common sense and take their eyes off of the road.

Often a driver will have so much confidence in their GPS system they navigate down unpaved roads or private drives because GPS systems don’t recognize these as roads that should not be traveled.

One village in Wedmore, England saw more than their share of truck accidents because truck drivers followed their GPS systems through the village. Truck drivers fail to take heed signs saying that trucks were prohibited to drive through the village because the roads narrowed to 6 feet and trucks got stuck between buildings.

There have also been several reports of drivers driving on train tracks at the direction of their GPS navigation system.

Driver distraction caused by using the device can also lead to an accident. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that in 25-30% of all traffic accidents, driver distraction was a factor. Just a few days ago, a driver was ticketed for causing a head-on car accident when he crossed the centerline line of a highway and collided with an oncoming vehicle. The driver said he was distracted by his GPS device. In May, a teenage driver relying on his GPS device made an illegal U-turn and caused a four-car accident.

Drivers overly confident in their GPS system are the ones most apt to get into a car accident. We recommend that a person check a map before making a trip and use the voice command option on the GPS system and keeping one’s eyes on the road.

This information is provided by Seattle Car Accident Lawyer blog, a service of The Farber Law Group. We represent people who have been seriously injured in car accidents and the family of those killed.

Contact The Farber Law Group at 1-800-244-9087 or attorney@hgfarber.com to schedule a free and confidential case evaluation. We have offices in Seattle and Bellevue to assist you.