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Howard and Byrne Solicitors, York - Criminal Defence Specialists

Lorry Drivers Warned About Using Ouse Bridge In High Winds

Minster FM News Generic

7:49am 8th January 2014

Lorry drivers are being warned about using the Ouse Bridge in high winds.

During the past few weeks say Humberside Police, they have seen some very strong winds hit the county. They add that this is not only causing issues to homes but also motorists, especially HGV drivers who make an attempt to get through the rural routes and, across some of the bridges.

When high winds are present in the region, say Humberside Police, bridges can often be closed to high sided vehicles. They add that this is done so for the safety of the HGV driver and other road users however, say Humberside police, they are finding that many HGV drivers heading over the M62 Ouse Bridge think this does not apply to them.

In recent weeks Humberside police say they have attended a number of calls for service in which a high sided vehicle has ignored the signs, which says the bridge is closed to high sided vehicles, and made an attempt to get across. This has resulted, say officers in the vehicle being blown onto its side blocking all three lanes of the motorway. They add that more often than not the driver is not injured and no other vehicle have been involved, but this then causes hours of traffic chaos for other road users.

Once Police and Highways Agency arrive at the overturned vehicle, say Humberside Police, a full motorway closure is then often required, a heavy recovery is then needed and a diversion is put in place. They add that this diversion, which is not designed to cope with the same level of traffic as a motorway, could be in place for hours this then causing chaos for all traffic.

PC Simon Carlisle, Casualty reduction officer for the East Riding said: "Incidents such as this are becoming more and more common. Drivers of high sided vehicles putting themselves and other road users lives in danger, just because it appears they can't be bothered to pay attention to road safety warnings.

"Often police officers can be tied up at the scenes of these incidents for a number of hours and for what purpose? We have no injuries to deal with, but we have to wait for recovery of the vehicle and for the motorway to be re opened. This is time spent, when we could be needed at a more serious collision.

"So what about the other people who are affected by this, those in the tailback. All of these are examples of people I have dealt with in the past. A young mother with a baby due a feed, she was only five miles from home and was over an hour from being released from the tailback. A middle aged female cancer sufferer who was on her way to an appointment in Leeds, missed her appointment. A minibus of teenagers on their way to a rugby match in Bradford had to miss the game and, a family of five going to Manchester Airport for a holiday flight which they could have missed.

"What are the police doing about it? On occasions when the M62 Ouse Bridge will be closed to high sided vehicles we will be, where resources allow, enforcing the direction given by the matrix and roadside signs and prosecuting drivers of high sided vehicles who ignore the signs for careless driving. Priority will be given to the carriageway most affected, which will be advised by the Highways Agency who constantly monitor the wind speed on the bridge. Careless driving offenders may be offered a diversion from prosecution course or a fixed penalty of £100 with three penalty points, alternatively the could appear at court to justify their actions.

"In December three vehicles turned over on the M62 Ouse Bridge, this caused the M62 westbound motorway to be closed for up to ten hours causing misery to many drivers. The vehicles could not be recovered until the wind subsided. Humberside Police are committed to protecting the public and improving safety by reducing road casualties, we are confident addressing this issue will assist in that goal and assist in improving quality of life.

"It really is a simple thing to do, think about your actions and don’t just be of the opinion that by ignoring the road signs it will save you a few minutes and the police will not notice. The sign is there to warn drivers of high sided vehicles for a number of reasons. Think about the consequences that your actions could have on other road users. We could be in for some more windy conditions so pay attention to any warning notices given.”

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