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1,600 Bridge Strikes from HGVs in Last Year

Network Rail have revealed that in the last year, drivers of HGVs and buses strike bridges at least five times a day. This is putting both themselves, other road users and trains at risk.

Approximately 43% of drivers admit to being unaware of the height of their vehicle. Around half do not consider whether there are any low bridges on their delivery route.

Bridge strikes can cause considerable damage to both the bridge and more importantly, life. After every incident, a bridge has to be checked to make sure there isn't any major structurable damage. Debris also has to cleared. This closure can lead to major delays on both the road and rail networks, as well as significant disruption to the local community.

Although bridge strikes incidents have reduced in recent years, possibly due to recent reductions in traffic and improvements in navigation technology, it is still an issue. It is estimated that bridge strikes have costed the UK economy around £23 million due to delays and damage, with the average cost of around £13,000 per strike to the UK taxpayer!

According to data from Network Rail, most bridge strikes occur on bridges around 14 feet high with the peak time being at around 10.00am in September and October.

It's worth noting that Network Rail can now claim back the cost of bridge damage from hauliers, so it is certainly worth educating your drivers about the importance of knowing the height of their vehicle and whether they may encounter low bridges on their routes.

Reporting a bridge strike

If you are involved in, or witness, a bridge strike incident, it should be immediately reported to us using the telephone number on the identification plate fixed to the bridge.

This number will take you to the regional railway control centre, who will be able to take the appropriate actions.

If no plate is provided, the strike should be reported to the Police by telephoning 999. Strikes can also be reported to the Network Rail emergency helpline as a last resort on 03457 11 41 41.

Network Rail

For more information on what you can do as a haulier or driver to prevent bridge strikes, check out the Network Rail 'Wise Up, Size Up' campaign website. Remember... 'Lorries Can't Limbo'.