No one was seriously injured. Picture: Jay Town
No one was seriously injured. Picture: Jay Town

How big is your truck?

VICTORIAN truck drivers are being urged to check the height of their vehicle following a recent spate of bridge strikes across Melbourne.

VicRoads said in a statement today there was a legal requirement for drivers of heavy vehicles to know and understand the dimensions of their vehicle before starting their engines.

"Unfortunately, Victorians are regularly faced with lengthy delays due to over-height vehicles colliding with bridges. Not only is it very dangerous, it is completely avoidable," the statement read. 

"In the past 15 days alone, there has been six structures that have been impacted by trucks due to drivers not knowing the height of their vehicle.

"This irresponsible behaviour not only causes significant congestion on the roads and lengthy delays on public transport, but also attracts significant penalties.

VicRoads said a number of charges could be brought against not only the driver of the vehicle, but also the company that owns the heavy vehicle.

Under the road rules, failing to obey a low clearance or clearance sign can result in an $806 fine.

The driver and/or operator is also responsible for costs to repair damage. This can run into tens of thousands of dollars.

In addition, incidents like this attract the attention of VicRoads Transport Safety Service Officers. Any heavy vehicle owner or operator involved in a bridge strike can expect a visit from the TSS team who will inspect entire vehicle fleets and issue defect notices where necessary.

This can all be avoided by simply understanding the dimensions of your vehicle before turning the key.

VicRoads chief executive Robyn Seymour said there was improved signage, installed gantries and electronic warning systems, and provided a comprehensive online map of height clearances on roads, yet heavy vehicles continue to collide with bridges.

"Technology and warning signs have reduced the number of bridge strikes but ultimately, the only way to eliminate this problem is for all drivers to be aware of the height of their vehicle and plan their journey accordingly," she said. 

Quotes attributable to PTV CEO Jeroen Weimar
PTV chief executive officer Jeroen Weimar said rail bridges carry thousands of Victorians to work, school and home.

"Any bridge strike means cancellations and delays while inspectors check out the bridge structure," he said. 

"I urge drivers of high vehicles to pay attention to our rail bridges to ensure their own safety and recognise the impact a moments inattention can have on thousands of people."

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