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Size Really Does Matter for UK’s 268,000 HGV Drivers

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Drivers of large vehicles are warned that failure to plan routes to avoid low bridges may result in dangerous severe driving charges.

Motor safety experts at Snooper are urging drivers to know the size of their vehicle and the location of any low bridges before heading out onto the road.

Drivers of high-sided vehicles that fail to plan their journey and carry out the appropriate checks risk losing their driver and operator licences at a minimum.

Most cases of a vehicle striking a low bridge will be considered dangerous driving by the Crown Prosecution Service, and significant charges will be brought.

In cases where death or serious injury is caused due to the collision, disqualification would be mandatory, and in rare circumstances, a prison sentence would be handed down.

According to data from the Road Safety and Standards Board, 43% of lorry drivers admit to not knowing the size of their vehicle, while 52% admit to not considering low bridges when planning their journeys.

The latest annual figures show that a vehicle strikes a low bridge in the UK five times a day on average, with 1,833 bridge strikes reported.

Each bridge strike costs £13,000 on average in repair and delays costs that the driver’s employee could be liable for.

With bridge strikes costing the UK taxpayer 23 million pounds each year, road safety technology provider Snooper supports initiatives to increase awareness of the problem.

They appeal to drivers and operators to take the necessary steps to ensure that vehicle sizes are recorded, and routes are planned so drivers are aware of any low bridges en route.

With March being a peak month for bridge strikes in the UK, drivers of high-sided vehicles must be conscious of the risks and what they can do to stay safe.

Gary Digva, the founder of Snooper, said: “Bridge strikes are a pertinent issue for most drivers and decision-makers. However, many other day-to-day challenges can take priority.

“HGV drivers and operators usually have to handle customer demands while juggling economic and time pressures.

“This means that bridge strikes are not always front of mind, with many incidents being put down to driver error, but they are entirely avoidable.

“Not taking the time to understand the height of a vehicle can lead to many issues for various parties.

“Striking a bridge can place drivers, pedestrians, rail staff and the travelling public in danger while costing the UK taxpayer millions each year.

“Drivers and operators can be severely impacted by costs, bans and serious criminal charges in the most severe cases.

“It is therefore vital that truck drivers pay attention to the height and the width of their vehicle and plan routes accordingly to avoid bridge strikes.”

For more information on technology that can alert drivers to the location and height of low bridges whilst driving, please visit https://gb.snooper.eu/.

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