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Bucks County Residents Injured In Bus Crash File Lawsuit Against GPS Manufacturers

By Cherri Gregg

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) --- Eleven Bucks county residents injured when their charter bus crashed into an overpass in Boston in 2013 recently filed a $15 million lawsuit against two GPS manufacturers. They claim GPS companies have a duty to warn of height restrictions.

The lawsuit was filed in state court in Boston on Friday and alleges GPS manufacturers TomTom USA and Garmin International improperly routed the bus driver onto a height restricted road where top of the charter struck an overpass as plaintiffs headed back to Pennsylvania after a daylong trip to Harvard University.

"GPS did not provide any warning on height restrictions, nor did it provide a warning that the device should not be used in commercial vehicle," says Jim Ronca, an attorney with Anapol Schwartz who represents Matthew Cruz -- the young man, now age 18, who was paralyzed in the accident.

A total of 35 Bucks County residents-- both students and chaperones-- were on the bus that day in February on a trip sponsored by the Bristol non-profit, Destined for a Dream.

Ronca says 11 of the plaintiffs have joined together to sue the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the driver of the bus company, Calvary Coach Bus Company and others.

He says they added the GPS manufacturers when they learned how often the bridge hits happen, especially when trucks, buses or other commercial vehicles are involved.

"We were surprised to learn there were over 200 of these bridge hits in New York State alone," says Ronca, who says GPS companies do maintain height restriction information and provide it to drivers in the more expensive commercial version of GPS information.

This lawsuit is one of the first personal injury suits against GPS manufacturers. TomTom USA and Garmin International both declined to comment.

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