Bridge strike will result in PI appearance

Chris Tindall
September 27, 2019

Drivers who hit bridges will be pulled in front of a traffic commissioner and could face “exceptionally harsh” punishments, warn road transport solicitors.

Backhouse Jones said Network Rail has become “fed up” of the number of bridge strikes by HGVs and the rail operator has set up a system in which it notifies the traffic commissioner’s office as soon as an incident is reported.

Network Rail said there are on average five bridge strikes by lorries every day and it’s costing the taxpayer £23m every year.

Mark Davies, solicitor at Backhouse Jones, said: “You may have a completely impeccable record, there will be no other issue for the traffic commissioner at that public inquiry but a bridge strike is enough.”

Backhouse Jones director, Jonathon Backhouse, said he’d recently dealt with a case where a driver hit a bridge but it wasn’t marked as a low bridge because the sign had been stolen: “That was a driver that hadn’t had a single significant accident in 30 years of driving, no points on his licence, he had almost an exemplary driving record and yet the traffic commissioner thought that because he had hit this bridge which was unsigned the starting point [for disqualification] should be between three and six months.

“We persuaded them to do a lot less than that in the end and reduced it to a fortnight.

“My personal view is that was exceptionally harsh.”

Earlier this year, the senior TC Richard Turfitt hinted that they would start coming down hard on companies for failing to route their vehicles correctly (CM 16 May).

About the Author


Chris Tindall

Chris Tindall started writing for the haulage and logistics industry in 2002 and quickly realised there was enough going on to keep him busy for a very long time. He’s covered a broad range of significant issues, including GPS jamming by criminals, platooning, Brexit and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, the lack of safe and secure lorry parks and he helped secure the release of a lorry driver in a Polish jail due to misuse of the European Arrest Warrant.

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