Bridge drivers who defy bans may face tougher sanctions

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Penalties to deter vehicles from flouting high wind restrictions are being investigated by ministers.

The move comes after the Forth Road Bridge was closed for 19 hours when a lorry was blown over last month. The driver was charged with dangerous driving because the lorry overturned.

However, other motorists who ignore bans during bad weather cannot be prosecuted unless they commit another offence, such as crashing.

Transport minister Humza Yousaf said: “I have asked Transport Scotland to examine how often this is happening and what enforcement measures we can take.

“There need to be some honest conversations with HGV operators.”

The Scottish Government agency added: “Drivers of high-sided vehicles must act responsibly in windy conditions and comply with the warning signs or they risk being prosecuted for dangerous driving. We are reviewing the incident at the Forth Road Bridge and the wider implications for other crossings.

“In particular, we are looking to establish a clearer picture of the extent of non-compliance and this will inform our next steps in terms of education and deterrence.”

Police Scotland confirmed that wind restrictions, such as on bridges, were advisory.

But Superintendent Fraser Candlish, deputy head of road policing, said: “It is likely that the driver of any high-sided vehicle who ignores warnings and is involved in a wind-related incident could be charged with careless or dangerous driving.”

The national force launched a campaign to stop lorries being blown over on other roads after it was revealed ministers had ordered an inquiry following 11 incidents in weeks last winter.

Forth Road Bridge officials pointed to the fact that only a handful of vehicles have ever overturned out of more than 200 million which have crossed the bridge.