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Bridge strikes are a continuing issue for transport operators, according to the Office of the Traffic Commissioner.

Recent statistics showed that there we over 1600 instances of bridge strikes on the Network Rail infrastructure alone, notwithstanding the additional strikes to road and footbridges throughout the country. The implications for transport operators are severe, resulting in loss of earnings and potential public enquiries, fines and loss of licence for both driver and operator.

Sir Peter Handy, the chairman of Network Rail, recently said, “Every hit bridge has to be inspected, causing delays on road and rail, and disruption to local communities. Bridge strikes cost at least £20 million a year.”

Sir Peter continued, “In 2021, an incident involving a lorry in Plymouth cost over £1 million and closed the South Devon Main Line for three days. All strikes are an offence, and may also call into question the competence of an operator to hold an O licence,” he warned. “Hitting a bridge is at very least a failure to observe a road sign and may also be an offence of due care and attention.”

These comments show how costly bridge strikes can be and offer further insights into why every transport operator should be aware of the implications.

Bridge strike

Displaying the vehicle height

The Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986 SI No.1078 stipulate that the maximum height of a vehicle is displayed in the cab when the overall height is three metres or above.

As an additional failsafe, the Traffic Commissioner’s office recommends that a record of the vehicle height is included in every daily walkaround check completed by a driver before the commencement of a journey. This helps to ensure that operators and drivers are aware of the vehicle’s height and can make any changes to routes in advance to avoid any occurrence of bridge strikes.

How AssetGo can help avoid bridge strikes

The AssetGo system allows the creation of a vehicle height check, which you can add to your driver’s daily walkaround checklists. Operators can then see a vehicle’s height record, ensure drivers are aware that they must record the height and double-check their route is completely safe and accessible before setting off. If a vehicle is over 3 metres high, the AssetGo daily checks app will also automatically ask the driver to confirm that the vehicle’s height is clearly displayed in the cab.

Asset height check

Other things to consider to reduce the risk of bridge strikes include advanced route planning and using LGV-specific satellite navigation systems that consider vehicle heights.

If you would like to find out more about how you can add this check to your checklists, get in touch with support today by calling 03301 744244 or emailing support@assetgo.co.uk