Could legislation prevent more bridge crashes by HGV’s in Wrecclesham?

Local authorities want to stop bridge crash chaos by banning HGV drivers from using faulty satnavs.

HGV drivers should be banned from using standard car sat navs that are leading them to crash into bridges or get stuck down narrow local roads that specialist lorry satnavs avoid says the Local Government Association.

Wrecclesham, The Cut in Shere – and some other roads in Waverley could benefit if legislation is approved.

How many times have vehicles hit Waverley’s Wrecclesham railway bridge?

 A Farnham resident has totted up how many times that HGV’s have crashed into the notorious Wrecclesham railway bridge. The latest incident in July put the driver of a car in hospital with serious injuries.

The dates on which the bridge has been hit were 24/9/14, 22/5/15, 27/5/15, 18/8/16, 23/5/17, 19/7/17, 4/9/17, 6/10/17, 10/11/17, 7/2/18, 11/7/18, 6/8/18, 6/12/18, 15/3/19, 4/4/19, 13/5/19, 07/10/21, 17/03/22, 11/07/22.

Photo of red and grey lorry wheels


The (LGA), which represents councils in England and Wales, said communities are still being blighted by incidents where lorries have blocked streets, got stuck in villages and crashed into bridges as a result of driving down routes not suitable for their size or weight, often after being taken there by a satnav.

Incidents this year included:

Councils are calling on the Government to take urgent action and use its forthcoming Transport Bill to require all HGV drivers by law to use specialist satnav devices rather than currently only advising. These are devices which include bridge heights, narrow roads, and roads unsuitable for trucks.

They also allow the driver to input the lorry’s dimensions – height, width, weight and load – so they are only guided along suitable roads.

Making them mandatory will support HGV drivers in carrying out effective route planning, especially the new HGV drivers coming into the industry to support the vital role lorries play in the economy.

There are more lorry journeys than ever, risking more incidents. HGV mileage grew by nearly 9 per cent over the last year and is back above pre-pandemic levels.

Lorries colliding with local infrastructures, such as railway bridges, or becoming stuck on narrow roads causes major disruption and is costly to local communities. They often take significant amounts of time and resources to free, cause major congestion across the local road network generate more emissions and they disrupt local rail services.

Cllr David Renard, LGA Transport spokesperson, said:

“The spate of accidents we continue to see involving lorries blocking streets, damaging local areas and crashing into bridges on a regular basis is causing major disruption to local communities.

“There are more lorry journeys than ever, risking more incidents. HGV mileage grew by nearly 9 per cent over the last year and is back above pre-pandemic levels.

“Councils already work with freight and haulage companies to ensure that lorries use the most suitable routes and roads. However, there are a minority of drivers who continue to follow satnav systems that take them down routes that are totally inappropriate for the weight and height of their vehicle.

“By making it mandatory for anyone operating an HGV to use a specialist satnav device, the Government can help to reduce the risk of accidents and keep our roads moving.”




2 thoughts on “Could legislation prevent more bridge crashes by HGV’s in Wrecclesham?”

  1. HGV low bridge safety guidance is too often either not followed or enforced by transport management control. The Health and Safety Executive should prosecute companies that route their vehicles on unsafe “low bridge” routes when there is a bridge strike. One witnessed Wrecclesham bridge near miss the haulage company was local. It should have known not to send its vehicle on a route where the bridge height was below the vehicle height.

    If the Government was serious, it could revisit the law on consequential liability and bring in strict liabilities for bridge strikes that apply to both the driver and the company. Too often when approaching the bridge HGVs descending the A325 have crossed into the oncoming traffic lane. Surrey Police might also consider that HGV safety checks at this location are well overdue, and a camera-controlled speed limit would provide some control and mitigation.

    The residents of Wrecclesham deserve and urgent solution we have already waited too long, at least 20 years!

    1. Twenty years is too long to wait for action. WW agrees – the residents of Wrecclesham and the travelling public deserve ACTION NOW! So how does the Waverley Web help you to get the Police onto this urgently – before someone dies?

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