A Mapping Update for the Treacherous Dog Valley Road in the Winter Was Implemented by a Tech Business
NEVADA – One technology company has agreed to exclude a road from its mapping system during the winter months, so potentially saving lives.
Each year, cars from Verdi, Truckee, and all the way into California travel Dog Valley Road, which runs alongside to Interstate 80 from Verdi to Truckee. In the winter, GPS firms do not advise vehicles that Dog Valley Road is a hazardous alternate route. The route is small, rugged, and rapidly ascending. Every winter drivers get stranded. Sierra and Washoe county search and rescue teams and officers are dispatched.
Jack Wayman, a volunteer with the Washoe County Search and Rescue team, stated, “One year, between 2016 and 2017, we were up there for nearly two weeks in a row, virtually every day, and multiple times a day on occasion.”
The Washoe County Sheriff’s Office responds to the majority of rescue calls since it has the majority of the necessary equipment. However, the majority of Dog Valley Road is in Sierra County. Staff there also responds to calls.
Throughout the years, both agencies have repeatedly reached out to tech companies in an effort to get Dog Valley Road removed off maps while I-80 is closed. Even a warning could be beneficial. Both search and rescue and the sheriff of Sierra County said they have never received a response.
News 4 contacted Google, Apple, and Garmin for comment. Only Apple responded that they will investigate the problem. After the initial news item aired, Google issued the following statement indicating upcoming changes:
We can confirm that we will no longer route drivers through Dog Valley Road for the upcoming season “During extreme weather, our staff works as rapidly as possible to revise routes using information from third party sources, community feedback, and sudden shifts in traffic trends. We can confirm that we will no longer route traffic down Dog Valley Road during the upcoming season. As usual, we urge everyone to remain vigilant and attentive, particularly when driving in inclement weather.”
Sgt. Joshua Fisher of Washoe County Search & Rescue stated, “Our organization is ecstatic to see that Google is eliminating that shift in direction for travelers.” It will almost certainly save lives and avoid injuries.
Rescues in Sierra County deplete an already limited department’s resources. Sheriff Mike Fisher is delighted that Dog Valley Road will not be an alternative to I-80 during the winter.
“I find it remarkable that Google has reached out to you and reacted. In the past, our response has not been favorable. I certainly hope they follow through “he said, Fisher
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