"It is 20 times more expensive to carry out reactive maintenance than planned, preventative maintenance.” (ALARM 2017)
The Asphalt Industry Alliance has produced its Annual Local Authority Road Maintenance survey (ALARM). This provides a detailed picture of the condition of highways.
As reported in today’s news it paints a bleak picture of the state of the roads.
Whilst the headline statistic may focus upon the £12 billion needed to bring roads up to scratch, personal injury solicitors may be more interested in the information surrounding the number of potholes.
Under the 1980 Highways Act, local authorities have a responsibility to maintain the highway so that it is free of danger to road users.
The report states that 70% of claims brought as a result of injury or damage to vehicles relate to potholes.
A standard defence to these claims is for the local authority to say they repair the potholes once they are reported to them.
Injury lawyers have long argued that such a reactive system is insufficient. Moreover, the figures now provided by the AIA show reactive systems do not make financial sense either.
The report states it costs on average £49 to repair a pothole as part of planned maintenance yet costs £72 to repair a pothole as part of a reactive response to complaints. These figures do not even take into account the amount of compensation payments made by local authorities as a result of their failure to maintain the highway.
In light of these figures, it would be unfair to argue injured claimants are putting an unnecessary burden upon local authorities by bringing claims. If there had been adequate investment in the first place, not only would many injuries have been prevented, it would have been cheaper to repair the potholes before they caused injury.
An obvious example of prevention being better than a cure.
If you think you may have a personal injury claim, please get in touch with the team on: 01775 842505