Drivers urged to ‘Wise Up, Size Up’ ahead of Black Friday rush

With an increase in the number of large goods vehicles expected on Britain’s roads to meet demand for deliveries over Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the Christmas period, Network Rail is issuing a plea to drivers to always check the height of their vehicles before making their journeys. 

Research carried out by Network Rail has shown that 52 per
cent of lorry drivers do not take low bridges into account when planning their
route, and 43 per cent admitted they did not measure their vehicle before
heading out on the road.

In the last year alone, almost 2,000 instances of
vehicles striking railway bridges were reported across Britain- more than
five a day- causing an average of more than nine hours of delays
to rail passengers every day.

The increase in the number of large vehicles on the road at
this time of year coincides with an annual spike in the number of bridge
strikes, with as many as 14 recorded in a single day on three separate
occasions between October and December last year.

Sir Peter Hendy CBE, chair of Network Rail, said: ​

“It’s a very busy time of year for drivers of large goods
vehicles, so it’s understandable there may be additional
pressure to get to destinations on time, but there is no excuse to
not know the height of your vehicle before starting your journey.

“As well as putting lives in danger on both road and rail
and causing lengthy delays for passengers and road users, drivers who chance
it at bridges are at risk of losing their licenses and leaving
their employers with a hefty bill for repairs and train delay costs,
along with a strong threat to their own operators licence.

Network Rail is working with a number of leading
haulage companies and retailers to tackle the issue as part of the ‘Wise
Up, Size Up’ campaign, which aims to improve education and provide support to drivers
to reduce the number of bridge strikes which causes risk and disruption to both
road users and rail passengers.

The issue of bridge strikes was raised in
the Senior Traffic Commissioner’s annual report to the
Secretary of State last month, with the number of bridge
strikes condemned as “unacceptable” and operators warned that
regulatory action is a “real possibility” should they fail to take
action on reducing them.  

The report from the Senior Traffic Commissioner, Richard
Turfitt, states:

“Disappointingly, thorough risk-based route planning seems
to be a responsibility which operators are leaving to drivers. We have seen
instances of drivers not being given conversion charts and also being
left to plan routes without access to information that would identify the
location of low bridges. 

“It is time for operators to treat this seriously and take
responsibility, not just leave it to drivers. From the cases referred to us so
far, we are astonished by operators’ lackadaisical approach to the prevention
of bridge strikes. Beyond the road safety issues, there are huge consequential
costs in terms of checking and repair, as well as delays to rail travel which
impact passengers and commuters.”

Sir Peter commented:

“We welcome and support the comments in the
Senior Traffic Commissioner’s report. We’ve had a number of encouraging,
productive conversations with industry partners who are keen to work with us
to offer improved support and education for drivers, and we
will continue to engage with key players in the industry to reduce the risk of
bridge strikes. But we also have to support action against companies where they
do not honour their obligations to operate safely.”

Source: Courier News

Drivers urged to ‘Wise Up, Size Up’ ahead of Black Friday rush

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