Councils across the UK are shelling out every day to irate motorists. £200 is the average compensation for vehicles damaged by potholes. There were 22,000 successful claims last year alone. And it’s all taxpayers’ money.
Shoddy road maintenance costs drivers 6 times more than it costs councils to patch up our roads.
Insurance isn’t an option for many. Simon Douglas of AA Insurance explains, “Drivers are unwilling to claim as they risk losing their no-claims bonus. The cost of repair may be less than the rise in premium.”
Worse still the Government has told the Highways Agency to ignore any motorway potholes smaller than the size of a soup bowl from 2015. With rises in fuel duty and road tax it leaves motorists outraged at the news.
Chris Reagan of Coventry pays £445 road tax on his Audi A6 Allroad. “It is robbery,” says Chris, “The roads around us are shameful. I use the M69 for my commute. If the motorways become as bad it would be awful.”
Camilla Dyson from Sheffield bought an 18-month old VW Golf two years ago. “I sold the car last week. I got next to nothing for it. It was wrecked. The roads in Sheffield are a disgrace,” said Camilla.
At high-speed a small pothole can crack a driveshaft. Shock absorbers fracture easily. And a suspension coil spring can snap like a carrot.
Mail Order Company Carparts-Direct.co.uk supplies Steering Racks and Driveshafts. “Many customers ask for a detailed invoice to claim from their authority,” says Martin Mosley of Carparts-Direct. “Our Steering Racks and Driveshafts are remanufactured items so the old part is returned to us when the job is done. Some are damaged so badly they are useless. In 25 years I have never known this level of destruction. It is unsafe.”
Successive governments know voters won’t put up with third-world schools and hospitals. Third-world roads could prove even more unpopular.