Following a worrying number of recent bridge strike incidents across the PSV and HGV sectors, traffic commissioners have taken steps to remind operators and drivers of the law and its possible consequences.
A number of UK bridge strike incidents have been described as ‘outrageously high’, with 1,624 cases on the Network Rail infrastructure alone in 2020-21, along with many more cases of commercial vehicles using unsuitable roads, including non-compliance with weight restrictions which could cause road damage , To load and endanger the safety of other road users.
A recent statement from the Transport Commission reminded operators that in addition to road safety issues that can be catastrophic, there are serious financial consequences to these cases and that the impact on drivers and operators can also be significant. The media cited an example from the HGV field, in which a vehicle hit a bridge in St. Helens. A public inquiry has concluded that the main cause of the incident is non-fulfillment of the driver’s responsibility in a professional manner. His transport license was revoked, and he was disqualified from holding a freight license for six months. The TC also noted that the operator could have done more to prevent the incident and the operator found his O license permanently restricted.
One of the reasons for blaming these incidents is poor route planning and reliance on unsuitable Satenab systems, which lack commercial functionality to warn the driver of all critical points in the lanes. The Transport Commission document stated that while satnav technology can be operated efficiently and effectively, the devices used must be suitable for a commercial role, adding that the best satnav devices must be regularly updated with up-to-date information on the road network, including. Height restrictions.
Holding proper lane equipment is not a substitute for efficient route planning, the TC warned, but said it may help the driver avoid some of the incidents. Commissioners expect both operators and drivers to take the issue seriously and take responsibility, and warn that failure to do so could lead to an operator or driver having to appear before a TC or a public inquiry.