Although we are officially in Spring, the interminable cold weather continues. An obvious hazard with such weather conditions is the ice and snow that have caused such treacherous travelling conditions, making even short journeys difficult.
Aside from the risks created by the weather conditions themselves the prolonged period of bad weather has caused a noticeable increase in the number of potholes. Potholes are caused when moisture gets into the cracks in the road which expands when it freezes.
Potholes that can cause damage to car tyres and wheel rims can also cause fatal or life changing injury to cyclists and pedestrians. The RAC states that the rise in potholes across the UK has stemmed from cash-strapped Councils reactive ‘patch and dash’ approach which means, rather than resurfacing roads properly, potholes are repaired individually in a hurry and sometimes in wet weather, leading to them quickly breaking down and reappearing.
Each year the Asphalt Industry Alliance (AIA) commissions an independent survey of Local Authority Highways Departments in England and Wales. The latest survey published in March 2018 showed that Local Authorities reported more than 24,000 miles of road identified as needing essential maintenance in the next year.
Under the Highways Act 1980 Local Authorities have a duty to maintain and repair the highways.
The Court of Appeal ordered a Borough Council to pay damages to a jogger who suffered severe injuries to his ankle after he fell into a deep pothole. In that matter, the Court held that a lack of resources was irrelevant to the Council’s duty to ensure the safety of road users.
Worryingly, although the amount of roads in need of maintenance is increasing the actual number of potholes repaired by Local Authorities is decreasing. The AIA estimate that it would now take 14 years and £9.31bn to get local roads back into a reasonable steady state.
If you have been injured as a result of a poorly maintained highway then please contact us as soon as possible for an initial no obligation consultation.
Caption: Adam Lloyd, Solicitor. Personal Injury and Medical Negligence Department.