Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators have asked the government to devise regulations for companies that sell global satellite positioning (GPS) devices to prevent the sale of systems that map out inefficient or misleading routes for drivers.
Deputy Minister of Transportation and Communications Yeh Kuang-shih (葉匡時) said that if the government were to devise such rules, it would have to coordinate with the Ministry of the Interior and the National Communications Commission to determine which governmental branch would wield what type of authority when implementing standards.
Yeh added that faulty GPS systems also involved issues of national security and were not solely a road safety issue.
During a meeting of the legislature’s Finance Committee yesterday, KMT Legislator Lu Hsiu-yen (盧秀燕) said that the Ministry of Economic Affairs’ inspection of GPS devices did not include their content or reception quality.
Lu said that misleading drivers was dangerous, giving as an example an incident in which a GPS device directed her assistant to a graveyard although she had set a theme park as her destination, causing her to almost crash into a headstone.
The inaccuracy of the information provided by the devices is not receiving adequate attention from the government and this inattention is violating the people’s rights, Lu said. She called on the Ministry of Transportation and Communications, the Ministry of the Interior and the commission to conduct tests on built-in GPS systems in cars and for them to require carmakers to improve the quality of GPS reception.
Regulations should be drafted to penalize manufacturers who sell devices that do not have up-to-date maps, Lu said, adding that shops that sell defective devices should also be made to provide compensation for any damage caused by faulty GPS systems.
The government should seek to accomplish the goal of devising a national standard within one year to better guarantee safety on the road, Lu said.
Meanwhile, National Communications Commission Chairperson Howard Shyr (石世豪) said that while he agreed that regulations governing GPS devices should be established, penalties should only be meted out in clear cases of irresponsibility.
The GPS devices currently on the market all require civilians to update geographic data via downloaded software and constitute a passive reception of information rather than an active broadcasting system, Shyr said, adding that as such the commission would have great difficulty holding the makers or sellers of such devices accountable to government regulations.