No Fixed Method to Deal With Road Problems Causes Chaos

New reports are unveiling some major issues when it comes to repairing potholes and damages to the road, as there is no fixed way to tackle the problem. Local authorities are causing chaos by trying to solve issues for themselves without strict guidelines.

No Mass Rules, No Uniform Solution

There are 206 councils in the UK that are responsible for their roads. Out of that number, an estimated 29% don’t have clear criteria on how they deal with potholes, and some even say they decide which damages to repair based on risk.

Ultimately, it is members of the public who set out to report these issues - well-intentioned as they are - will simply find that there isn’t a real hurry to fix the damage, and in some cases, no action is taken at all. Further compounding the issue is the fact that the risk-based approach isn’t elaborated on by the councils that use it, so it’s hard to know exactly what situations trigger action.

Solutions Needed?

These findings are undoubtedly an upsetting thing for all road users, as the report confirms that unless drastic action is taken, drivers everywhere will continue to suffer. The issue is built upon the simple idea that without a proper plan in place, the local authority tasked with repairing the road will simply not do so and instead delay the process for as long as possible.

With this in mind, there are a few strategies which need to be deployed in order for real change to be affected. First of all, it is recommended that all local authorities tasked with the repair and maintenance of their own roads engage in a risk-based assessment for repairs. However, strict, more universal guidelines should be published based on how frequently the road is used and the type of traffic on it, instead of existing methods like going by the dimensions of the pothole and the length of time it has been there.

Speaking about the situation is Rod Dennis, a representative of the RAC, and he had the following to offer:

“For a long time, we’ve advised the public to report each and every pothole they come across to their local authority, not least as a council can refuse to compensate for damage caused from hitting one if they can prove they didn’t know it existed. Unfortunately, as this analysis shows, just reporting a road defect doesn’t guarantee it will get fixed.

In some cases, councils state a pothole needs to be sufficiently deep or wide to be considered for repair. This can be enormously frustrating for anyone who comes across one and reports it but then witnesses it get even bigger and more dangerous as it didn’t quite reach a council’s threshold for repair.

What’s just as bad is when a council provides no information whatsoever on how they decide which road defects warrant their attention and which don’t. In these cases, drivers going to the effort of reporting potholes have no idea at all whether anything will ever happen.”