Network Rail has joined forces with the haulage industry to put a stop to HGV bridge collisions once and for all. It seems that every day there’s a story in the news about a lorry hitting a bridge somewhere in the country, causing all kinds of problems for the local area around the accident. And that’s because the collisions really are that frequent, happening an average of five times a day across the country, totalling around 2,000 accidents each year. Accidents involving bridges can cause all kinds of damage, from minor inconveniences on the road to serious injury and even death for the HGV driver and others.

What the Truck - low bridge

It’s not just physical damage that results from these kinds of accidents. When totting up the cost of the accidents themselves, not to mention the delays that follow, the taxpayer is forking out around £23million annually, with no sign of the problem getting any better unless there’s a drastic change. Earlier last month we also reported the FTA report of the low bridges in the UK. This should give the new drivers a good idea of being safe around these areas.

Now Network Rail have launched their new campaign, ‘What the Truck’, which calls for local councils to take action to stop these accidents from happening by taking some relatively cheap and simple steps. Part of the problem Network Rail and the haulage industry have identified is a lack of clear and consistent signage on bridges which tells drivers what height they need to be below in order to safely pass under the bridge. While British drivers might understand the imperial measurements that tell them what size their truck should be, many of the more recently arrived European drivers will be confused by the system and take the measurements for metric ones. The same applies to younger British drivers too, many of whom are better versed in metric measurements than in imperial. A welsh company have also started working on developing a unique app for HGV drivers to identify the low bridges, as reported few months ago.

Councils should display both metric and imperial measurements say the ‘What the Truck’ campaign, otherwise accidents will continue to happen. It’s also vital that councils measure bridge heights again to make sure the measurements are as accurate as possible. In addition to the extra or replaced signs, bridges that are hit on a regular basis should be reinforced with steel beams to make them as secure as possible, ensuring no rail accidents can result from a lorry striking a bridge used by trains. So next time you get caught up in an accident caused by a lorry hitting a bridge, don’t just complain to your friends and colleagues about it, get in touch with your local council and ask them what the truck they’re doing about it.

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