'Lorries can't limbo' campaign aims to reduce £23m annual repair and compensation bill

A Network Rail campaign to educate lorry drivers about the dangers of low bridges aims to reduce the annual bill for repairs and lost productivity, estimated at £23m.

Network Rail's 'Lorries Can't Limbo' campaign aims to reduce the annual £23m repair and compensation bill
Network Rail's 'Lorries Can't Limbo' campaign aims to reduce the annual £23m repair and compensation bill

Launched this week, the ‘Lorries Can’t Limbo’ campaign, aimed at professional HGV drivers and others who drive high-sided vehicles, calls on them to "wise up and size up" their vehicle and plan their route before their journey.

Network Rail said there were about 2,000 railway bridge strikes a year, each costing more than £10,000 for repairs and compensation to train operators.

Compensation costs Network Rail up to £13m a year, but the true annual cost is estimated to be up to £23m, once the value of undelivered goods, lost productivity from train delays and road congestion are taken into account.

Before the campaign was formulated Network Rail carried out research that revealed nearly half of those lorry drivers surveyed did not know the size of their vehicle and that more than half did not take low bridges into account when planning their journeys.

Working with agency 23red, Network Rail devised a nudge campaign aimed at HGV drivers to increase awareness of the danger of bridge strikes and encourage them to measure their vehicles before setting out.

The campaign focused on "the four Es": education of drivers and employers, engineering and signage, enablement technology in HGV cabs, and the enforcement of penalties. 

Network Rail carried out engagement work with the haulage and public transport industry and will seek to raise the profile of the campaign through national and specialist logistics media, using case studies.

The organisation is working with the Road Haulage Association, Tesco and Royal Mail, among other partners, to propagate the key messages and materials in its campaign, which will run until the end of 2018.

The success of the campaign will be measured by the reduction of bridge strikes, as well as surveys with drivers, pre- and post-launch, to see whether vehicle measurement has increased as a result.

Lucy Jones, senior campaigns manager at Network Rail, said that, while bridge strikes were an issue for professional drivers, it was not always foremost in their minds.

She added: "Rather than alienate drivers the campaign aims to be collaborative. We want to work with drivers and support them, to help them be prepared when they are out on the road, and we wanted to develop something that the industry could continue to use and will be of benefit."

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