Pittsburgh Salt Trucks To Get GPS Units

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Starting Thursday afternoon, the salt trucks will be back out treating the roads.

Hopefully, we won’t see conditions like Tuesday morning’s ice that caused several crashes on Fallowfield Avenue in Pittsburgh.

There will likely be complaints and questions about whether some streets were treated or not.

However, there will be no question about it as the salt trucks will be getting GPS units to make them more efficient.

The idea is to make the trucks and drivers more efficient, but the side effect is that we will know through GPS tracking whether or not certain streets are treated.

Pittsburgh Public Works Director Rob Kaczorowski got an earful from a woman at a meeting tonight. The woman’s car suffered $13,000 in damage from the cars that slid out of control on Fallowfield Avenue Tuesday.

She said that the road wasn’t treated, while Kaczorowski maintained that the road was indeed treated.

It turns out the residents were right.

Although a log said a salt truck treated the street in the morning, it really didn’t because the driver turned around to put chains on his tires.

Soon, that confusion will be eliminated as Pittsburgh salt trucks will have GPS units installed.

“So that drivers will have a tool in the cab itself instead of reading a paper sheet to make sure all the streets get done. He’ll have that GPS you have in your vehicle, I have in my vehicle, that tells him turn right here, turn left here and so forth,” Kaczorowski said.

It’s a growing trend around the country.

New York City is adding GPS units to its salt trucks after its latest battle with snow in December.

However, GPS units can also track everywhere the truck has been, how fast it’s been going and more, which has brought some protest from drivers.

“We had some people [think] we want to use it as a disciplinary tool. That’s not it at all. We’re trying to help the drivers and help ourselves,” Kaczorowski said.

It will also help settle disputes over where trucks have been and whether or not they’ve even been on a certain street.

Many residents like that idea.

“I think that would be a wonderful idea because that would give the proof that somebody was there where they wanted to be. I’m not saying they didn’t make the effort, but at seven o’clock, if you turn around and not finish the street, what good does that do us?” Gale Caracci said.

PennDOT already has GPS units in its salt trucks.

Pittsburgh has some units already installed and is just waiting to be synced up with a computer system.

They should be in operation in another month or so.

  • Bea

    If they are doing their jobs, they shouldn’t have to worry about the GPS. It will make it harder for people to keep lying, which is a good thing for the city. Wanna bet how long it will take before the new excuse will be, GPS didn’t work, don’t know where the info is, computer was down, etc., etc. The city has become a web of cover-ups.

  • larry

    waste of money they have maps for this and if these guys work in pittsburgh they should know the streets

    • FixPGH

      I think the whole point, larry, is to be able to track them. They claim it’s not a disciplinary tool, but it DEFINITELY is. If residents are claiming their streets weren’t taking care of and drivers are saying they were – they have to be able to find out so GPS would be the easiest way. Just because a driver has a map or knows Pittsburgh doesn’t mean he will actually clear the road.

      The comment below you from Ming the Merciless is right too. They will find a way to “break” them and get away with stuff unless they are REALLY harped on by their superiors. I know the job sucks, but if you took the job you have to do it and you have to do it right. And if there weren’t problems coming up then these solutions wouldn’t have to be made. They dug their own hole.

  • Ming the Merciless

    I install and service GPS units for fleets and drivers always find excuses why they break do not work etc and after couple months the units are no longer used. Don’t waste tax payer money putting them in.
    GPS only works well in fleets where management cracks down on those who tamper with it and where drivers realize the advantages of it.
    Something the neanderthal union drivers the city hires will never appreciate .
    Why is it as i service my route and see salt trucks running in other community’s during snow you never ever see one city truck out?
    Most outside drivers are not unionized or are part time or contracted.

  • Sick of excuses

    When and IF a salt truck actually comes down my street, they rarely actually salt. No GPS in the world is capable of showing whether or not the driver really salted the street or just used it as a thruway. Giant waste of taxpyers’ money.

  • Mr Soho

    Don’t be stuipd, there is the small per cent that will run and hide, go home, sleep in the trucks instead of doing their jobs. You watch how many more streets get plowed and salted with the GPS locators.

  • Ginny

    I want to thank the employee from KDKA who was there to film the Fiasco on Fallowfield and who called twice for assistance(from the feed on the website we could hear him requesting help from 911 or Public Works).
    Made me, a resident of Beechview, grateful for Camera Guys!!! You can’t, at least couldn’t before this video, understand how dangerous Beechview’s hills are in the winter. As for the lady who chewed out the Public Works Representative – Go Girl!!
    Thank you for calling him out on an untruth, whether deliberate or not.

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