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Bridge Strike Awareness

Bridge Strike Awareness

Monday 14th December 2020

With approximately five bridge strikes occurring every day in the UK, the Traffic Commissioners are advising operators that severe action could be taken against them if they fail to prepare drivers routes in advance to reduce the odds of these strikes happening.

Transport Managers could be held to account for driver error if it is deemed that risk assessments and route learning had not been carried out in advance. The TC has advised that a driver hitting a bridge will initially receive a 6 month vocational licence suspension for a first offence, and Transport Managers will receive a summons to attend a public inquiry to explain what safety systems they have in place to reduce the risks of such incidents.

There are six times the amount of LGV vehicles than PCV vehicles on our roads, but the ratio of actual reported strikes is around 50/50 between them. Yes, these figures could well be skewered by the fact that if a bus or coach hits a bridge it is far more likely that there will be witnesses to highlight the strike, but that is only where a minor strike occurs. All strikes must be reported as soon as they happen.

The consequences of bridge strikes range from causing severe delay to road and rail services to being fatal for drivers, passengers, and the public. All bridge strikes are avoidable if proper preparation is carried out beforehand, concentration levels are maintained and if drivers know and check the vehicle dimensions before they set off on their journey's. Network Rail have been running a campaign (Wise up, Size up) since 2018 to try and reduce the number of incidents taking place. It is estimated that each bridge strike delays the trains around 2 hours on average, costs the taxpayer £23 million per year or £13,000 each time it happens.

What can be done to try and make a difference?

Prepare routes well in advance paying particular attention to detail. Especially on rail replacement services.
Know the vehicle dimensions, both height and width, label in metres and in feet/inches. Many drivers do not even know the minimum height of an unmarked bridge!
Do not rely solely on a satnav for directions alone.
Book driver CPC courses with a reputable training company that use accredited trainers and have industry knowledge and experience. We could possibly assist there for £49 per delegate.

Call us to for further information and to book your drivers refresher courses 01273 805781 or email