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Driver safety top of sat-nav review

The Government has launched a major consultation into the use of satellite navigation systems and is seeking opinion on what risk they pose to driver safety.

It also wants to know whether it needs to introduce legislation that prevents systems giving ‘inappropriate routing’ encouraging the use of rat runs.

The consultation is part of a review by the Department for Transport into the legislation governing satellite navigation systems as technology has moved on significantly since existing legislation was made in 1989/1990.

In its introduction, the consultation says: ‘As the use of satellite navigation becomes more common, there is a need to ensure that the devices do not pose a safety risk through driver distraction.

‘It is also necessary to ensure that their routing strategies do not encourage the use of rat runs or give ill-advised or illegal instructions to the user.’

The Government estimates that there are four million units in use today and says it does not intend to restrict growth in the industry but wants to ensure that safety and traffic management are considered when companies design their systems.

Once transport officials have sifted through responses they will compile a summary of feedback and post it on to the DfT website. If it is found that current legislation does need amending, it will launch a ‘detailed statutory consultation exercise’.

The consultation period started this week and is due to end in January next year.

  • The consultation paper is available on the DfT website at

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