GPS Sends Trucks On Wild Goose Chase In Wilson County
by Adam Ghassemi
LEBANON, Tenn. – An overreliance on GPS devices has led some large trucks on a wild detour on rural roads through Wilson County.
Roland Fanning has lived on North Commerce Road west of Lebanon for almost two decades, but a few months ago he started noticing something uncommon in his rural community.
"We expect farm trucks and hay wagons and stuff like that running up and down the road, but not 18-wheelers," he said.
North Commerce isn't designed for big-rigs, even though Fanning said he has seen as many as 25 trucks attempt it in one day.
Some even get stuck trying to make narrow turns. They destroy signs, the pavement and ditches all in search of the brand new Starbucks distribution center.
"People are relying on GPS, and GPS is not keeping up what the folks need," Fanning said.
The new Starbucks facility is just off Highway 840 on Commerce Way in Lebanon's city limits. It is nowhere close to rural North Commerce Road, but that small difference has sent truckers 20 miles in the wrong direction even if they're using the latest GPS maps.
Lieutenant Bob Harrison with the Wilson County Sheriff's Office has been put in charge of fixing the problem. He said the complaint calls have been almost constant.
"It sends everybody there cause it's the closest match," Harrison said. "If you don't know where you're going, and you're solely relying on the GPS you may not get there."
Signs have been posted near North Commerce to warn truckers not to attempt it. Starbucks officials have even posted their own signs to warn truckers they aren't going the right way.
Possible solutions include changing Commerce Way's name, or laws to keep big trucks off small county roads, Harrison said.
Fanning hopes they come up with something that can make his community the way it used to be.
"It's more technology than what our minds can handle, especially when it messes up. And believe me it's messed up big time," he said.
Starbucks officials told NewsChannel 5 they have been warning their suppliers so truck drivers know about the route discrepancy. They have also worked with Google Maps to get the problem fixed, a spokeswoman said.