May 232011
 
  • Some roads “more like assault courses”
  • Call for long-term repair strategy for local roads

potholed roadThe B6343 near Morpeth and Fieldhead Lane, close to Holme, have been named as the worst pothole-strewn roads in Britain by Warranty Direct’s potholes.co.uk campaign website.

The two stretches were highlighted by motorists in an investigation by the website to expose the appalling state of our roads.

Although the Government recently injected a welcome £100m into an emergency pothole road maintenance fund, two harsh winters and long-term under-funding means potholes remain one of the biggest gripes among motorists.

Northumberland’s B6343 was described as having “a huge array of potholes east of Mitford” by Marra, one website user who nominated it. Meanwhile, Fieldhead Lane in West Yorkshire was summed up as “more like an off-road assault course” by tri4west.

The two website users above will each receive a 32” Samsung LCD flat screen TV for their winning submissions.

Nearly 90 per cent of nominations were local rather than motorways or A- and B-roads, bolstering Warranty Direct’s call for a long-term strategy for fixing the local road network.

Visitors to potholes.co.uk nominated over 80 sections of Britain’s 246,000 mile highway network for the ignominious title.

Judge’s Top Five Pothole-Pitted Roads  
B6343, near Morpeth, Northumberland Major road category winner
Fieldhead Lane, close to Holme, West Yorkshire Minor road category winner
Long Mill Lane, Plaxtol, Kent  
Yattendon Road, Basildon, West Berkshire  
Fyfield Road, Amport, Hampshire  

With an average repair cost of £335 for damage done by Britain’s crumbling roads, Warranty Direct estimates that drivers could be forking out nearly £3million every day – or £1 billion a year.

Duncan McClure Fisher, managing director of Warranty Direct, commented: “To be honest, we could have awarded the honour to tens if not hundreds of stretches of road, but these two particularly stood out for those motorists having to use them daily.

“We handle thousands of axle and suspension claims every year involving damage clearly sustained a result of the long-term deterioration of our roads. We welcomed the additional money in the Budget, but it needs to be a springboard in establishing a five or 10-year plan to revitalise our Third World local road network.”

Apr 082009
 

potholes £100 millionMotorists are paying out an estimated £1 million every day in repairs because of Britain’s potholed roads with the problem worsening the further North you go, according to data published by campaign website, Potholes.co.uk.

Analysing data from leading consumer warranty provider Warranty Direct’s insurance policies* over an eight-year period, six percent of cars each year suffer from axle and suspension damage that can be traced back to poor road quality. With some claims as high as £2710 and an average repair cost of £240, this equates to a potential £413 million a year, or £1.1 million each day, for UK motorists**.

Of the 10 worst rated regions for axle and suspension failures, five are in Scotland and four in Northern England, while nine of the 10 lowest failure rates were recorded in the South of England. Ayrshire in Scotland has the highest rate in Britain, where14% of cars each year require repairs relating to poor road quality. By contrast, in Oxfordshire only 4% of cars suffer similar failures each year.

“It’s incredible how clear a North-South divide these figures appear to show,” said Warranty Direct’s Managing Director, Duncan McClure Fisher. “Either continuous driving over cracked or uneven road surfaces, or the sudden jolting of a deep pothole, can cause damage to shock absorbers, springs, upper and lower arms and stabiliser bars and this appears to be happening more in Scotland than anywhere else. Whether this is due to colder weather causing more Northern roads to crack or just poor maintenance, it seems to underline a clear difference in the condition of highways across the country.”

The figures were released to coincide with the re-launch of Potholes.co.uk – a website created to give people advice on what to do if they suffer cost or injury because of poor roads.

Warranty Direct launched Potholes.co.uk in 2007 to give motorists a chance to do something about potholes. Anyone who spots a pothole can report it to a local council through the site, as well as warning other motorists about it. And if their car has suffered damage because of a pothole, the site gives details of how to make a claim against a local council.

Suspension Failure rates across the UK by region

Position Region Percentage

1

Ayrshire

14.05%

2

Northumberland

13.84%

3

Renfrewshire

13.58%

4

Angus

13.36%

5

County Durham

13.07%

6

Aberdeenshire

11.60%

7

North Yorkshire

11.21%

8

Warwickshire

10.56%

9

Lanarkshire

10.48%

10

Tyne and Wear

10.23%

11

Suffolk

10.14%

12

Midlothian

9.88%

13

Gwent

9.59%

14

County Antrim

9.48%

15

Nottinghamshire

9.33%

16

Norfolk

8.98%

17

North Humberside

8.97%

18

Derbyshire

8.93%

19

Leicestershire

8.86%

20

West Yorkshire

8.80%

21

Worcestershire

8.73%

22

Northamptonshire

8.62%

23

Fife

8.51%

24

Lincolnshire

8.30%

25

South Yorkshire

8.07%

26

South Glamorgan

7.90%

27

Cambridgeshire

7.83%

28

Dyfed

7.82%

29

Middlesex

7.70%

30

Cheshire

7.06%

31

Staffordshire

6.94%

32

Lancashire

6.90%

33

Devon

6.86%

34

Avon

6.83%

35

Cumbria

6.73%

36

Cleveland

6.62%

37

London

6.61%

38

Hampshire

6.58%

39

Berkshire

6.55%

40

Merseyside

6.24%

41

West Midlands

6.15%

42

Essex

6.11%

43

Cornwall

5.88%

44

Hertfordshire

5.67%

45

Somerset

5.40%

46

Buckinghamshire

5.27%

47

West Sussex

5.27%

48

East Sussex

5.27%

49

Dorset

5.08%

50

Kent

5.04%

51

Surrey

4.97%

52

Wiltshire

4.97%

53

Bedfordshire

4.75%

54

Gloucestershire

4.50%

55

Shropshire

4.29%

56

Oxfordshire

4.20%

Aug 262004
 
potholes £100 million
Potholes claim 1 in 6 vehicle failures – Scottish roads the worst, South West the best (27/08/04)

Local road lottery is being blamed for a 47 percent increase in car suspension failure during the past five years.

According to analysis by independent automotive warranty firm, Warranty Direct, the number of cars needing suspension and axle repairs as a result of   poorly maintained roads and potholes has jumped from 9 percent of all claims in 1999 to an average of 17 percent for the first eight months of 2004.

Either continuous driving over cracked and uneven road surfaces, or the sudden jolting of a deep pothole, can cause damage to shock absorbers, springs, upper and lower arms, and stabiliser bars.

Regionally, Scottish drivers are the most at risk with a staggering 35 percent of all claims attributable to a road defect. The worst region in   England during the past twelve months has been Anglia with nearly 1 in 5   breakdowns reporting suspension or axle damage. Greater London recorded a   figure of nearly 14 percent, with roads in the South West, currently the   least likely to damage the health of your vehicle at just over 11 percent.

Region Percentage
 
Scotland 35.07
Anglia 19.11
North East 18.77
West Midlands 15.56
North West 15.25
Wales 14.42
Greater London 13.99
East Midlands 13.76
South East 12.40
South West 11.04
 
 
British     Average 16.93

 

The data from Warranty Direct is supported by comments from the Institute of Civil Engineers and the Asphalt Industry Alliance about the state of British roads. The latest ALARM (Annual Local Authority Road Maintenance) survey, reported a 94 percent increase in visible defects over the past ten years, during which time the number of compensation claims against local authorities in England had doubled an annual payout of 85m.

On average, Warranty Direct will pay 267.15 to repair pothole-damaged vehicles – a figure that can quickly rise. For example, replacing the front suspension arm on a Ford Focus will cost 332.52 or 619.22 for a BMW 3 Series.

“With current budgets only allowing for resurfacing once every 76 years, is it no wonder that more than 1 in 6 vehicles that breakdown today will have suffered a mechanical failure as a result of poorly maintained roads?” says Duncan McClure Fisher of Warranty Direct.

“As more and more motorists without adequate warranty cover seek compensation, any extra money earmarked for road improvement is being redirected to pay and handle such claims. It may be a Catch 22 for officials, but the problem is now reaching critical levels and something needs to be done.”

If the financial cost to the motorist wasn’t of enough concern, ALARM reported in March that 80 percent of local authority engineers believe ‘there is a threat to road users’ safety due to road maintenance under   funding.”

What you can expect to pay:
  Front     Suspension Arms Rear Suspension     Arms Front Shock     Absorbers Rear Shock     Absorbers
 
Vauxhall Corsa 143.35 438.27 387.75 106.92
Mazda MX5 253.80 245.57 393.62 340.75
VW Golf 259.67 305.50 270.25 138.65
Peugeot 206 291.40 215.02 286.70 142.17
Ford Focus 332.52 168.02 351.32 189.17
Ford Mondeo 413.60 211.50 299.62 321.95
Land Rover Freelander 433.57 526.40 338.40 459.42
Renault Espace 451.20 239.70 323.12 206.80
BMW 3 Series 619.22 316.10 508.77 204.45