Deliver - Stopping strikes

10 October 2019

Bridge strikes are a “serious problem for the industry”, according to Senior Traffic Commissioner Richard Turfitt. According to Network Rail, five easily avoidable railway bridge strikes take place each day in the UK.

Bridge strikes cause injury (or worse) to drivers and other road users, create untold misery for train passengers through delays, cost the taxpayer millions of pounds, cause serious damage to infrastructure and significantly damage the reputation of the transport industry.

What can be done about it?

Bridge strikes are entirely avoidable. The onus is on the driver to ensure that their vehicles will fit under a bridge, but every operator has a crucial part to play. Here are our top tips.

  1. Ensure you plan routes clearly and effectively
  2. Where there are unplanned, unexpected or emerging situations make sure drivers communicate these back to you
  3. Avoid placing drivers under pressure which can increase the risk of strikes
  4. Clearly display the trailer height on the trailer headboard and the coupler height in the cab
  5. Use LGV specific sat nav systems that include information on vehicle height limits on low bridges
  6. Ensure that drivers check the maximum height of the vehicle, its load and/or any equipment prior to setting out
  7. Ensure drivers have height conversion charts in their cab
  8. Instruct and train your drivers on all of the above and make sure they are all provided with the Network Rail practice guide for professional drivers and trained on it.

Aside from the potential tragedy that could unfold, and the financial implications of a bridge strike, it is also important to remember that your operator licence could be at risk if you fail to put into place effective systems to prevent the same.

For further information, Network Rail publishes useful industry guides.

The content of this article is from the October 2019 edition of Deliver and is for general information only. To download the latest issue, please visit the newsletter section of our website. If you would like to discuss any of the matters raised above in more detail, please contact Philippa Dyer or a member of our Regulatory and Corporate Defence team. Law covered as at October 2019.