Licence loss warning for bridge strikes


The senior traffic commissioner has written to all HGV operators warning them that a bridge strike by one of their vehicles could result in the loss of their O-licence.

The reminder came ahead of Network Rail relaunching a campaign about the problem of bridge strikes and revealing Britain’s “most-bashed” bridges.
It said the structures are struck five times every day on average and that the Watling Street bridge on the A5 in Leicestershire was hit every fortnight in the last year.

Network Rail said that with Black Friday and the Christmas rush approaching and larger vehicles expected on the country’s roads, drivers needed to ‘Wise Up, Size Up’ before setting out.

Operators are warned to assess the risks and ensure routes are planned in advance; check that drivers, transport managers and planners are all adequately trained and that drivers are given suitable information about their vehicles.

Gareth Llewellyn, DVSA chief executive said: “There’s real headway being made and we’re seeing a drop in bridge strikes, but we must keep up this momentum to avoid these dangerous and costly incidents.”

First offence leads to suspension


A scaffolding firm with a host of compliance issues was saved from having its licence revoked after taking remedial action.

Another Level Scaffolding escaped with a two-week suspension at a PI in Cambridge, although TC Richard Turfitt said the Basildon operator’s fitness to operate had been “severely tarnished” by its actions following a DVSA roadside stop in 2018.

It was discovered that the vehicle’s tachograph had not been downloaded since the previous year. Instances of driving without a driver card were also identified.

A follow-up visit took place in August 2019, where a DVSA traffic examiner met with director John Mann and found that downloads were not taking place, no working time records were available, two vehicles were missing ministry plating certificates and two V5 documents had incorrect details. Shortcomings were still identified at a second site visit in November 2019.

The operator said instances of drivers forgetting to insert their cards had been eradicated, although the TC said there was still no effective disciplinary process in place.

However, despite being satisfied that O-licence breaches had occurred, the TC said this was a first PI and Covid-19 restrictions may have prevented some action.
Undertakings were added to the licence.