Another GPS Navigation Incident: Some Questions

It’s more of the same: truck drivers sent down narrow streets in Llangadog, Wales, by their satellite-navigation systems are crashing into buildings. Via Engadget.

This is happening too often to fall under the “random idiot” section of the news, however much Engadget or I like covering such incidents. Almost every story comes from Europe, and I have to wonder why. It occurs to me that the narrow and unusual roads on which these drivers invariably ensnare themselves are a rare thing in North America — on this continent, even the most disused back road can usually accomodate a tractor-trailer — whereas in Europe they’re much more common. So I have to ask: Is this a European phenomenon? To what extent are narrow roadways involved? To what extent is the complexity of a centuries-old road network implicated? And to what extent do people rely on GPS navigation systems to navigate that network?