Let's Smash Bridge Smashing
According to Network Rail, an average day, across Britain, sees the drivers of at least five HGVs and / or buses, put themselves, road users and train travellers at risk. And all because 32% of drivers admitted to setting off whilst not being aware of the height of their vehicle with 56% not considering low bridges when planning their journey.
In the financial year 1921/22, Network Rail recorded 1,833 bridge strikes - up from the previous year’s count of 1,624, which cost almost £12M in delay and force weeks of closures and thousands of pounds in cancellation fees.
Network Rail Chair Sir Peter Hendy said: “Bridge bashers cause serious safety issues on the transport network for both road and rail users. Every incident can delay tens of thousands of passengers while we inspect the bridge and repair any damage – creating a huge cost from public funds.”
But it’s not just rail passengers that face problems - the cost to hauliers and coach operators is also extortionate, both in terms of extended journey times resulting from detours and of course the extra fuel used.
Commenting, RHA MD Richard Smith said: “The majority of bridge strikes are avoidable. We’re now in the busiest time of the year for deliveries and we urge operators and drivers to plan their routes, know the height of their vehicles and be aware of the road signs showing the bridge heights.
Be warned. Network Rail will report those who don’t to the traffic commissioners, putting their licenses and livelihoods at risk. What’s more, Network Rail always looks to recover the entire repair and delay costs from the driver and the operator.”
Here are links to Government publications for preventative measures for professional HGV drivers, for coach drivers and for transport managers.
Prevention of bridge strikes: a good practice guide for professional drivers
Prevention of bridge strikes: a good practice guide for professional drivers of passenger vehicles
Prevention of bridge strikes: a good practice guide for transport managers.
The RHA also offers a free, 20 minute, toolbox talk, produced by Roadskills Online that drivers can share.