When you think of Global Positioning Technology (GPS) you probably think of a technological map that gets you where you need to go on time and lets you know when you should expect delays thanks to those traffic jams we all know and love.

While GPS technology is the best thing for finding your way to practically anything, the technology is also saving lives on the daily.GPS is used by all sorts of industries from airlines to boats to emergency respondents, as well as your everyday neighbors. And it’s used for much more than just directions to the nearest truck stop.

Here are eight ways GPS technology is saving lives in 2017.

1. Keeping Trains from Crashing

It may be surprising to hear that fatal train crashes are still occurring in the 21st century. At least they were until Congress put its foot down in 2008 and mandated all freight rail systems to utilize a computer-based crash avoidance system called Positive Train Control or PTC by 2018.

The PTC program is based on Global Positioning Technology (GPS), which tracks the location and distance of active trains, speeds, railroad traffic, as well as the condition and placement of tracks. The system is designed to prevent dangers from derailment related to excessive speeding and train entrance onto rails undergoing construction or maintenance. PTC also will stop a train from moving onto a track that is not positioned correctly.

When the system calculates a crash may occur, such as when another train is too close for comfort, it brings the train to an emergency stop. Despite being significantly late, implementing this GPS technology is making the railroad system more efficient and saving lives.

2. Preventing Motor Vehicle Crashes

In 2016, 40,000 people in the United States lost their lives to motor vehicle accidents. Driving is historically the most dangerous method of travel. However, car manufacturers are working with GPS technology in pretty cool ways that are saving lives in 2017 and will save even more in the years to come.

How are they doing it? Self-driving cars!

The United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) claims that approximately 80% of vehicle wrecks are due to human error. Utilizing radar sensors and GPS can allow cars to take control when a danger appears. GPS technology is implemented to prevent vehicle-to-vehicle crashes, including pedestrians and cyclists, too. Its coordinates detect where others are located in the area and their proximity. Working with sensors, the technology detects speed and alters the car’s pace or stops the car completely to avoid a collision.

Advanced GPS also accounts for traffic management systems such as stop lights, ensuring the car will stop or yield when necessary. Basically, cars are becoming robots. But instead of taking over the world like a sci-fi movie, they are saving lives.

3. Making Trucking Safer

Speeding, losing control, hard-braking, crossing the line, unfamiliarity with roads, and maintenance issues are among the top causes of commercial truck accidents according to the USDOT National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration. All of these errors can be prevented using GPS technology designed for fleets.

Fleet GPS tracking systems have the ability to prevent aggressive driving though tracking driver speed, including acceleration and deceleration rates. Technologies also provide immediate alerts to drivers and managers for various behaviors such as touching the line, not wearing the seatbelt, hard braking and turning, and sudden stopping. If there is an emergency, drivers can alert their fleet managers and provide their exact location.

When it comes to driving on unfamiliar roads, GPS programs can inform drivers on everything from road conditions, high traffic times, road structure and design, to the most popular stops. Maintenance issues that cause accidents can be prevented with advanced GPS technology, too. Hard braking is one of the largest causes of wear and tear for trucks. Through driver tracking and prevention, your fleet may avoid related issues.

Having road knowledge, direction, and alerts will not only keep your drivers safer, but it will ultimately be saving lives of everyone on the roads.

4. Protecting the Skies

Without GPS technology, it would be nearly impossible to track and coordinate airplanes. Understanding where planes are and when prevents planes from getting too close to other aircraft and prevents plane-to-plane collisions– something devastatingly hard to imagine.

Accurate coordination of the skies and knowledge of the environment also prevents collisions with structures such as buildings or mountains ranges. Even when physical sight is difficult for pilots, GPS technology can provide a lens to see what’s ahead. This comes in handy especially when planes are searching for places to land.

When uncooperative weather makes it difficult to find drop points, pilots can rely on their GPS system to designate a point and direct a safe landing. Within military operations, knowing aircraft positioning and speed can be the key to preventing undue harm.

Of course, we can’t forget the original reason for GPS technology within the aircraft world– direction. GPS provides airlines and military units with the quickest and most efficient routes to the desired destination, saving time and also resources.

Basically, the utilization of GPS technology in aviation has made flying considerably safer and is consistently saving lives.

5. Better Search and Rescue

Designed and controlled by NASA, Distress Alerting Satellite System (DASS) is a U.S. operated satellite system used for tracking distressed signals from activated beacons. The program incorporates search and rescue instruments onto GPS satellites. Using GPS is highly effective because every point on earth can be viewed by at least four GPS satellites at any time.

When a distress call is signaled, DASS obtains data from all four satellites so rescuers can make quick and accurate estimates on distance, time, and location.

“I’ve met some of the 30,000 people who have been saved by this system… Without NASA, they wouldn’t be here with us today.” –Gilmer Blankenship, Techno-Sciences Inc.

GPS is vital for local rescue teams as well. Having exact coordinates and the quickest route to accidents and emergencies allows police, firefighters, and EMTs to get to the location faster, making saving lives easier.

Lastly, GPS can aid in search in and rescue on the other side of the equation. Did you hear about the camper who was bitten by a rattlesnake and not able to move to find help? Well, lucky for him, he was able to use his GPS mapping system on his smartphone to provide emergency respondents his exact location. Today’s systems on our phones and handheld devices can save our lives in the case of an emergency such as Camper Joe. They allow emergency personnel to get to you quicker.

6. Securing the Seas

As just mentioned, GPS technology provides boat location to search and rescue teams in emergencies. It is important on the water, as it provides latitude, longitude, and altitude — the main coordinate system used at sea.

But, when it comes to saving lives, GPS does more than just pinpoint boaters’ positions.

All GPS technology allows for efficient navigation, preventing mariners from losing their way and getting into unfortunate situations such as running out of fuel. Advanced systems can track structures on the water, their direction, speed, and proximity. They can also safely direct a boat’s autopilot system and connect to radio systems so anglers can communicate with other boaters or dispatchers.

Whether the GPS is high-tech or standard, it will no doubt help in saving lives of all types of boaters.

7. Tracking Loved Ones

Nobody wants to go through the nightmare of having a loved one go missing, especially children. GPS technology is used by many products to keep track of people in the case of an emergency. There are applications designed for smartphones that utilize GPS to track the phone’s location. This works great if a person is with their phone.

However, many times a person goes missing or is kidnapped without a cellphone. So, companies have designed products that can be worn as bracelets and devices that can be placed in backpacks and purses. There is even a tennis shoe with built-in GPS tracking for older adults with Alzheimer’s. These devices allow family members or friends to always know where a loved one is through GPS satellite tracking.

When you feel your child or someone is in danger, you can use the device software to quickly find their location and provide their position to emergency responders, and/or know where to go to find them. This is why a GPS tracking device can be the saving grace in saving lives.

The technology doesn’t only have to be used for children or family members. Many are designed for pets, as well. I don’t know about you, but I know what it’s like to have a dog (a husky to be specific) that loves to wreak havoc throughout the neighborhood any chance he sees an entry door left open. Although he always comes back, it is scary not knowing where he is and the potential dangers he could be facing– such as driving vehicles. A GPS tracking device placed on your pet’s collar will help you find Waldo before any harm to come to him.

Whether you need a GPS tracking system for your child, parent, or pets, it will give you a piece of mind knowing where your loved ones are at any time.

8. Tracking Bad Guys

Whether it’s tracking down the runaway in a car chase or pinpointed military targets, GPS technology is there for duty. Police units place GPS tracking devices in suspect’s vehicles to track criminal activities and locate persons of interest. They also use GPS to make sure people on parole and house arrest are abiding by their provisions.

It gets more innovative, though. There is a new device that is used specifically for car chases. It is called the StarChase system and it projects a GPS device that sticks to the target vehicle. The sticky tag will relay the car’s location to the police base. Pretty cool, huh?

When it comes to military targeting, our efforts have never been more precise thanks to GPS technology. GPS tracks missile paths, aircraft patterns, and even bombs, allowing accurate knowledge and targeting for attacks. Using exact coordinates to plan attacks will ensure harm does not come to any outside of the specified area. Thus, militaries can warn civilians and soldiers where attacks will occur and what area to evacuate or avoid. Soldiers themselves rely on GPS technology to navigate their way through enemy territories and break away from dangerous circumstances in the most effective way.

Locating and preventing criminal activity as well as efficiently tracking and targeting military operations is just one more way that GPS technology is saving lives in 2017.

Start Saving Lives within Your Fleet

Now that you can see how important GPS technology is for saving lives, it’s time to make sure your fleets are secured. At Fleet Trax, we provide GPS vehicle tracking solutions designed to fit your fleet’s needs, whether large or small. Our devices will provide the locations of your drivers in real-time, track fuel consumption and speed, ease payroll, and provide preventive maintenance.

Contact us today to get a customized quote and become a part of the saving lives trend!

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