This past quarter, BP Lubricants experienced two fleet incidents involving low clearance impacts. Both involved minor property damage, although one trailer suffered major damage. In order to put a focus on these incidents, this article will review low clearance collision study information and avoidance techniques.
Many low clearance accidents occurring on the roadway can have a devastating impact. According to the NHTSA, there were 15,000 bridge strikes in 2010 that resulted in 214 deaths and 3,000 injuries.
New York Senator Chuck Schumer recently addressed the issue of low bridge accidents in NY and stated that 80% were the result of truckers relying on consumer GPS systems to plan their routes. Although many commercial GPS systems contain bridge clearance information, many truckers are still using consumer GPS devices because of the lack of knowledge in the difference between the two types, as well as the increased cost associated with the commercial units.
Additionally, the Illinois DOT has produced a brochure for CMV drivers. It states that unlike consumer devices, truck-specific GPS devices take into account road restrictions, type of load carried, truck configuration and other metrics. Truck devices can help prevent CMV drivers from getting stuck on roads and under bridges, and keep them off of weight-restricted roads and bridges – all of which can help to prevent accidents.
Even with the advent of commercial GPS devices, they should never be relied upon exclusively. Other useful tools for truck drivers include online trucking maps, websites that list bridge clearances (such as the America’s Independent Trucker’s Association), and a trucking atlas.
Before beginning a trip, professional drivers should always know the height, width and weight of their vehicle, as well as the routes in and out of their pick-up points and deliveries. Drivers need to monitor height and weight restriction signage during their trips and be especially aware when unexpected detours occur due to accidents and construction.
Be sure to plan your route, know your height, width and weight and arrive safely!