Driving ban for lorry driver who brought rail network to halt in Perth bridge crash

(C) DC ThomsonThe Perth rail bridge on the day of the incident.

A lorry driver who smashed into a Perth railway bridge and brought central Scotland’s train network to a halt has been banned from driving for six months. Mark Flatt was also fined ?420 after he admitted crashing his 25-tonne truck into a bridge after getting lost while making a delivery. Flatt was driving a lorry which had a trailer more than 15ft high when he tried to squeeze under a railway bridge with 14ft of clearance.

Trains on the east coast line between Aberdeen and Perth were brought to a standstill while structural checks were carried out on the bridge. Flatt, 54, of Southbourne Road, Bournemouth, admitted driving carelessly in Perth on August 31 and crashing into the railway bridge on Tay Street. He admitted failing to observe warning signs in relation to the low bridge and trying to drive under it in a vehicle higher than the permitted height.

Perth Sheriff Court was told he got lost while carrying out a run between Grangemouth and Aberdeen and ended up in the centre of Perth.

Driver ‘failed to take notice of warning signs’

Fiscal depute Lisa Marshall told the court: “The accused is an HGV driver. It was a lorry coupled with a three-axel curtain-sided trailer. “Just after 2pm the accused was travelling north on the Edinburgh Road.

He then turned onto Tay Street. He failed to take notice of the warning signs in relation to the low bridge. “The roof of the trailer struck the bridge and the accused brought the vehicle to a halt.

There was extensive damage to the trailer due to the collision and police were contacted. “Due to it being a railway bridge, Network Rail were informed and a caution was placed on it until the bridge structure and lines could be checked for safety.”

Driving ban for lorry driver who brought rail network to halt in Perth bridge crash(C) DC ThomsonPerth Railway Station.

Mrs Marshall told the court that the lorry was 13ft 2in tall, while the trailer was 15ft 3in. The bridge was restricted to 14ft clearance.

She added: “Network Rail engineers attended and carried out safety inspections on the structure. “The bridge integrity was not compromised and restrictions on the line were lifted. The warning sign above the carriageway had been bent.”

‘Disqualification will cause him to lose his employment’

Solicitor Pauline Cullerton, defending, said her client normally drove flat bed trucks but had been asked to drive the taller vehicle and was carrying a load of 25 tonnes.

She said: “He took the wrong exit at Broxden roundabout and ended up in Perth town centre in error. He was trying to find his way out of Perth. “He was worried that his employer would wonder why he was in the town centre.

He was driving at around five to ten miles per hour. “He had simply not thought about the height of the trailer, given his lack of experience driving high sided trailers. He felt the trailer hit the bridge.

“He immediately stopped and was able to reverse back out.

Thankfully no significant damage was caused.

Disqualification will cause him to lose his employment.”

Driving ban for lorry driver who brought rail network to halt in Perth bridge crash

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