State Police will be conducting a bridge hit enforcement campaign across New York State this week. Each year, commercial truck operators, as well as those driving rental box trucks and moving trucks, fail to recognize their vehicle’s height and collide with bridges and overpasses, colliding with bridges and creating public safety hazards, traffic delays, and damage to bridges across the state. From 2021 through 2022, there were a combined 808 reported bridge strikes across New York State.
“Bridge strikes are potentially hazardous to motorists and first responders and have caused needless inconveniences for local communities – but these incidents are 100 percent preventable,” Governor Hochul said. “While we have implemented measures and technologies across the state to help prevent bridge strikes, nothing is more powerful than knowledge. Drivers of overheight vehicles have a responsibility here as well: follow posted warnings, know the height of vehicles and most importantly pay attention.”
New York State Police will patrol areas of known bridge hits and parkways in an effort to prevent commercial motor vehicles and oversized vehicles from colliding with an overpass. They will also coordinate enforcement details with local law enforcement commercial vehicle inspectors in areas that have high occurrences of bridge strikes.
In coordination with the enforcement campaign, State Police, the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT), the Thruway Authority and the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee will raise awareness through various social media channels throughout the week.
The NYSDOT’s campaign, “Check Your Height, Know It’s Right,” is designed to ensure that drivers know the height of their vehicles so they know if they can safely make it under any and all bridges. It will feature numerous videos, graphics and photos, and social media messages. The aim of the campaign is to impress upon all drivers that it is their responsibility to know their height and avoid bridges that they are too tall for. Additionally, NYSDOT will continue to alert drivers of overheight vehicles that consumer GPS and cell phone mapping systems do not include warnings for bridge heights, which puts them at risk of collisions.
The Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee will be visiting motor carrier inspection sites to hand out information on bridge strikes and how to prevent them.
New York State Department of Transportation Commissioner Marie Therese Dominguez said, “There have been far too many incidents of bridge strikes involving trucks and over-height vehicles in recent years, which are not only dangerous but completely preventable. While we will continue implement measures that alert drivers to potential low-clearance bridges, it is the responsibility of the operators to drive safely and pay attention to all warnings in place. I thank Governor Hochul and our agency partners for their work in keeping all everyone safe on New York’s roads.”
DMV has proposed a set of regulatory amendments which include assigning point values on a driver’s license for striking a bridge or speeding in a work zone.
New York State Department of Motor Vehicles Commissioner and Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee Chair Mark J.F. Schroeder said, “It is so important that drivers of all kinds of trucks check the height of bridges on their planned routes to be sure their vehicle will safely fit. Mapping software can be useful in many ways, but it doesn’t always provide information on bridge heights so drivers must conduct their own checks before getting on the road.”
New York State Police Acting Superintendent Dominick L. Chiumento said, “Commercial vehicle drivers must know their height, and must always be cognizant of any low bridges along their route. Too many times have we had a commercial vehicle that thought they could squeeze under an overpass. Avoiding these low bridges is crucial for the safety of all that travel New York’s roadways. Not only do bridge strikes cause significant damage and disruption to traffic but they have the potential to present additional hazards to other drivers and the communities wherein these low bridges are found. The State Police will continue to work with our state and local partners with the goal of eliminating these low bridge strikes and thus ensuring everyone’s safety.”