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Our say

Talking potholes with Motors.co.uk

12th July 2011

Earlier in the year we predicted that the UK was heading for a third world road network and little has been done to change our position.

We calculated that the nation’s cars suffer up to three million pounds of damage every day purely because of the state of our roads, which is clearly an unacceptable situation that requires a more thoughtful approach to remedy.

Potholes.co.uk analysed 150,000 of Warranty Direct’s policies over a three-year period and found that nearly six percent of vehicles suffer axle or suspension damage linked to potholes or road defects each year. The average cost of repair stood at £312 but individual bills were as high as £4,000.

Besides the risk of major mechanical failures, motorists could also end up paying out an average of £277 to replace damaged wheels and burst tyres.

One solution, though a little quirky, is to shame councils into fixing the worst of the craters by highlighting specific problem areas in the media. We did this recently with our campaign to find ‘Britain’s Worst Road’ which resulted in two stretches being repaired within days of being nominated.

But realistically this is no solution. The problem is most prevalent on smaller local roads, so what really needs to happen is for councils to engage local businesses much more. After all, they suffer just as much as residents. We can’t rely on central government to bail out councils all the time.

Another extremely frustrating factor at play is the nonexistent control over the numerous contractors who dig up the roads without a second thought. It must be made law to return the road to at least the state it was in prior to digging it up, and works must be coordinated effectively to minimise disruption.

Feedback via the website indicates that more potholes than ever have been left unfilled, so plans must be put in place now before another harsh winter gives our roads a further mauling.

Also featured on www.motors.co.uk.

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