The MP said some drivers pay more attention to their sat navs than clear road signs

Sat-nav real-time route advice proposed by Tory MP

A Bill that would require satellite navigation services to incentivise customers to provide real-time updates on route suitability has been proposed by a Tory MP.

Ian Liddell-Grainger told the Commons that some "gormless" drivers were more likely to listen the voice of their sat navs than to solid instructions or clear road signs warning them about the suitability of certain routes, leading them to become stranded under bridges or in rivers.

The Satellite Navigation (Updating Scheme) Bill would require the Secretary of State to establish a scheme under which UK-based sat nav providers would have to offer their customers incentives to provide real-time updates on route suitability and traffic management measures.

The MP for Bridgwater and West Somerset said: "I admire the wizardry of sat-navs, but I'm painfully aware it doesn't always work.

"The purpose of my Bill is quite simple. It's to stop heavy lorries getting stuck under low bridges, on roads far too narrow for their trailers, up perilous mountains, across boggy fields or (driving) headlong in one or two cases into rivers.

"Sat navigation is supposed to take the worry out of motoring. Tell that to a party of schoolchildren who recently got stuck on a coach bound for Henry VIII's palace and were led to Islington instead.

"I realise, obviously, Islington may become of importance next week as the international shrine for the Labour Party, but it makes no difference... Henry VIII would not have been seen dead in the place. As for the poor children, it was a bit of a disappointing day."

The MP reeled off a list of incidents of drivers and foreign vehicles around the country becoming lost and unstuck after using sat nav, including the worst example he had found where a Belgian truck driver directed by sat nav drove into an unsuitable cul-de-sac in Wadebridge in Cornwall, tried to reverse out and "demolished quite impressively" a roundabout and six parked cars.

The MP argued that "far too many drivers blithely assume it's the fault of the box of electronic tricks when they end up lost".

He said: "You can't get much clearer when it says this road is narrow, no heavy lorries. Yet certain gormless truck drivers still choose to follow the voice of their boxes and ignore the obvious hazards. They might as well drive blindfolded."

The Bill was listed for a second reading on October 23, but is unlikely to become law due to a lack of parliamentary time.

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