Published: 16 November 2018
Annually, over 1,800 HGVs strike bridges causing some damage – according to Network rail. Every single incident can cost up to £13,500 for repairs as well as compensation for drivers. Meaning annually the cost is set around £13 million.
Network Rail carried out further research which found that 43% of HGV drivers admitted that before heading out on a delivery they didn’t check the height on their vehicle, another 52% said they never took low bridges into consideration while planning routes.
Also considering goods that are undelivered or damaged, larger costs are estimated at £23 million every year. Head of Sales and Marketing at Snooper (Supplier of driving technologies) spoke on the matter: “For more than a decade, we have been providing driving assistance to truck and other professional drivers, helping them to get from A to B quickly, efficiently and most importantly: safely.”
“To hear that these exceptionally skilled drivers are making a simple mistake that is resulting in so much damage and disruption is what has led us to support the “wise up, size up” campaign spearheaded by Network Rail.”
“By reminding drivers of the correct procedures to follow, including checking the size of the vehicle they’re driving and planning a suitable route, throughout their shift, we hope to keep them bridge aware at all points of their journey, There are a wealth of technologies available to help drivers navigate roads safely and efficiently, meaning there’s no reason for these incidents to occur.”
They addressed the concerns that drivers involved in these incidents can face prison sentences, as well as prosecution and having their licence revoked.
Head of motoring at JMW solicitors, Hojol Uddin, discussed this: “The charges the Crown Prosecution Services (CPS) can consider will depend on the circumstances surrounding the collision; however, the majority of such cases seen are dangerous driving.”
“This is because their driving has fallen far below what would be expected of a competent and careful driver, and it would be obvious to a competent and careful driver that driving in that way would be dangerous”
“This includes anything attached to, carried or in it and the manner in which it is attached or carried.”
“In some rare cases where death or serious injury is caused due to the collision, this appropriate charge would be death by dangerous driving or serious injury. All these charges result in a disqualification from driving with an extended re-test as well as a potential prison sentence.”
Previous bus driver and chairman of Network Rail gave his own opinion: “Size does matter when you’re a professional driver in a heavy vehicle…”
“Through partnering with Snooper and other key haulage companies and trade bodies, such as the Road Haulage Association to spread our message, we aim to bring the issue to the forefront of everyone’s minds and reduce the number of bridge strikes.”