A survey conducted by road safety charity IAM RoadSmart has found that its members are increasingly disillusioned with the state of the roads in the UK – and feel the Government is not doing nearly enough to tackle the problem.
The survey of more than 7,000 IAM RoadSmart members found that the majority think that our roads have become much worse in recent years, that there are many more potholes than ever before, and that they have to swerve to avoid potholes on every journey.
Some 47% – over 3,400 respondents – say they have experienced damage to their car, commercial vehicle, motorbike or bicycle or personal injury as a result of hitting a pothole. Around 90% have spotted a deterioration of some level in the roads they use with just over 50% rating the state of their roads as ‘much worse’ in the past three years and 38% rating them ‘worse.’
Some 81% – close to 6,000 people – say they have noticed ‘many more’ potholes in the past three years, adding in the 13% who have seen ‘a few more,’ that gives a total of 94% who report more potholes. Over 56% say they have to take avoiding action on every journey to dodge potholes, while 27% say they have to steer around a pothole every day.
While a third of IAM RoadSmart members are willing to consider new funding ideas to help improve our roads, half were against a 2p increase in fuel duty and most of those were strongly opposed.
Mike Quinton, Chief Executive Officer of IAM RoadSmart, said: “IAM RoadSmart is deeply concerned at the safety implications of drivers having to swerve to avoid potholes as well as the high level of damage and injuries revealed by our survey.
“We are looking to the authorities to work together to produce a long term and sustainable plan to reduce the backlog of road maintenance before yet another damaging winter sets things back even further.
“The figures from our survey are compelling and it is increasingly clear that those who use the roads on a daily basis are pretty much united on this one – enough time has now passed for a long term plan to be in place and for work to have started. As our survey has shown, this is now the motoring public’s number one priority.”
Insurance Edge Comment:
Everyone knows our roads are being neglected and ultimately people are going to lose their lives because of pot-holes. Most likely it will be a cyclist or motorcycle rider who will pay the price for decades of neglect and spending on vanity and vote-catching projects by both councils and government.
The fact is road users already pay much more in VED and fuel duty than the total road maintenance budget. It’s no secret that councils have done the maths and find it cheaper to settle compensation claims for damaged suspension and wheel rims, instead of actually repairing the pot-holes. But lives are at risk here, not just shock absorbers.
It is time that local councils in particular fulfilled their duty of care to residents by fixing our dangerous roads. Otherwise the grieving relatives of accident victims will have every right to sue the council’s insurers for millions.