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Prevention of bridge strikes

Useful resources to raise awareness of the risks and consequences of bridge strikes

Highway and road managers

The document Prevention of strikes on bridges over highways: A protocol for highway managers and bridge owners has been revised by a working party with representatives from ADEPT (Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning and Transport), Department for Transport (traffic signs policy branch), London Transport and Network Rail.

The protocol is issued to raise the awareness of highway and road managers involved in road transport and maintenance of the consequences of bridge strikes, and to provide guidance for the management of this risk to the road user so that preventative measures may be implemented.

There is no one solution to the prevention of bridge strikes, but the protocol recommends practices to be adopted by all highway and road authorities and bridge owners including:

  • the recommended system for signing a bridge at risk of bridge strikes
  • a review of traffic signs at and in advance of low bridges to determine and implement an action plan for the erection of road traffic signs at risk of bridge strikes showing the minimum safe headroom
  • safety inspections to include the condition of traffic signs at and in advance of low bridges
  • road maintenance to take into account the reduced clearance for vehicles at these bridges
  • recommendations for cleaning traffic signs at rail bridges.

We will use the protocol in our discussions with local highway and road authorities as a basis for the standards and practices to be adopted.

Transport managers and professional drivers

Good practice guides have been developed in conjunction with our freight and passenger transport industry partners.

These are designed to raise the awareness of professional drivers and managers of freight and passenger transport companies to the risks and consequences of bridge strikes, and to give guidance to them on how they can be prevented:

The four guides, available from the Department for Transport website, are as follows:

  • Transport managers guide *
  • Professional drivers of passenger vehicles guide
  • Guide for passenger vehicle operational staff *
  • Professional drivers' guide

*Endorsed by the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport.

We are aware that bridge strikes may involve drivers from other countries who are unfamiliar with our roads or are driving left-hand-drive vehicles.

These foreign language guides have been endorsed by various organisations including the European Transport Safety Council, European Traffic Police Network (TISPOL) and International Road Haulage Union (IRU).

The guidance will enable the number of bridge strikes to be reduced thereby avoiding unnecessary damage, costs, delays and disruption.

These guides are part of a series of actions underway to prevent bridge strikes as part of our commitment to delivering a safe and reliable railway.

Training course for professional drivers in the freight transport industry and construction plant hire sector

We have produced a training course for the driver certificate of professional competence (CPC) in conjunction with our partners from the freight industry and construction plant hire sector.

This training course is intended to be used by companies in the freight transport industry and construction plant-hire sector to form the basis of a training course for driver CPC periodic training.

It is designed to develop knowledge, understanding and skills to prevent bridge strikes. We have not sought approval of this course from the Joint Approvals Unit for Periodic Training (JAUPT), therefore any use of this course for drivers’ CPC periodic training is subject to approval from JAUPT.

In addition to drivers, this course may be provided to other individuals in a freight transport or construction plant-hire company who may have a role to play in the prevention of bridge strikes or reporting a bridge strike. This includes but is not limited to:

  • office support staff (who may have to determine and advise drivers of alternative routes around obstructions)
  • transport managers.

This training course may also be suitable as ad-hoc training or briefings for drivers who have had bridge strikes or near misses.

Companies should add additional requirements or otherwise adapt this training course presentation to accord with their company policy as necessary.

The training course is designed to be classroom-based, led by the trainer, and includes a mix of lecture-style presentations and group discussions together with appropriate question and answer interaction with the delegates. Suggestions for practical training to reinforce the information provided in the classroom are provided in the training plan.

Driver CPC training course presentation (PowerPoint, 11 MB)

Driver CPC training plan (PDF, 300 KB)