Several agencies in New York are engaging in efforts to raise awareness of the problem of overheight vehicles striking bridges and overpasses on the state's highways.
From 2021 through 2022, there were a combined 808 reported bridge strikes across New York State. There have been 91 this year on the New York State Thruway alone. That compares to a total of 63 reported bridge strikes on the Thruway in all of 2022, a 44 percent increase.
New York State Police are patrolling areas of known bridge hits and parkways in an effort to prevent commercial motor vehicles and oversized vehicles from colliding with an overpass. They are also coordinating enforcement details with local law enforcement commercial vehicle inspectors in areas that have high occurrences of bridge strikes.
“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,” Gov. Kathy 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.”
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 are raising awareness through various social media channels.
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 features numerous videos, graphics, photos, and social media messages. The aim of the campaign is to impress upon 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.
The state's trucking association is supporting the efforts to prevent bridge strikes.
Trucking Association of New York President Kendra Hems said, “TANY is proud to work with our state partners on the Bridge Hit Mitigation Task Force to prevent bridge strikes in New York. Education is a critical component to ensure that drivers, both professional and those who drive rental trucks, take the extra step to check the height of their vehicle, know their route, and be diligent about paying attention to road signs. In conjunction with the education campaign, targeted enforcement sends a message about the seriousness of the issue. TANY looks forward to continuing to work on this important issue with our partners as we all strive to prevent bridge strikes in the future.”