After railway bosses raised concerns about disruptions to services caused by negligent truckers, they’re contemplating banning truckers from the roads if they hit low bridges.
Network Rail said bridge strikes costs about £23 million a year and was endeavouring to recover damages from HGV operators involved in avoidable accidents.
The Infrastructure Manager said it would report collisions to the Traffic Commissioners for Great Britain, which has the power to revoke licences, and in the 12 months up to March, there were 1,624 truckers, or more than four a day, despite the drop off in traffic during lockdowns.
They blamed sat navs for sending them on routes with bridges that were too low for their vehicles, but it seems that the rail industry has little compassion for the motorists, arguing that it’s their responsibility to know the height of their HGVs.
Network Rail chief executive Sir Peter Hendy said that a lorry or bus crashing into a railway bridge wasn’t an accident, and he said it was a failure of professional operators and drivers to properly plan their routes and know the height of their vehicles, and that it could cause accidents and serious injuries for road users, delays for both road and rail travellers, and could cause a catastrophic railway accident.
As a result of such incidents, Network Rail is attempting to recover the entire cost from operators and motorists, and also report all of them to the traffic commissioners for consideration of enforcement and revocation.
Rod McKenzie, managing director of policy and public affairs at the Road Haulage Association, added that specialised sat navs already allow motorists to programme in the height of their vehicle, meaning that they can circumvent crashes.
This week train services in and out of Cornwall were interrupted for two days with people advised not to travel to the West Country after a Tesco driver got his lorry wedged under a bridge.
Locals heard a tremendous bang when the HGV became wedged under the low archway in Plymouth on Monday and the mainline wasn’t completely open again until Wednesday night.
Keith Fletcher, who lives just by the bridge, said that they heard a huge bang which they don’t usually hear when someone hits the bridge, and he said that the lorry actually lifted the stonework about three inches up and that this was the most damage they’d seen in the twenty years that they’d lived there.
It’s the responsibility of employers to provide drivers with the proper GPS because it’s a vital tool for their job, and if employers aren’t equipping them with professional sat navs and they end up using their Mickey Mouse mobile phone sat nav app, then it should be the employer’s responsibility and not the truck driver.
And we often see HGVs squeezing along our weight restricted country roads daily, which is so frustrating.
Mind you, some of these sat navs can take you on a magical mystery tour with an additional 30 minutes added for fun.
Buses in London have a warning system that tells them when a bridge is too low so that they can stop in plenty of time, well, that’s the intention anyhow.
GreenRoad’s core safety system is installed on all of Stagecoach’s 8,000 buses in England, Scotland and Wales.
If the technology determines that the bus is travelling towards a low bridge, it will sound an in-cab alert, allowing a safe exit route that avoids the bridge. Perhaps lorries should have the same system fitted by law?