Are potholes causing problems for your fleet?
The RAC Pothole Index has worsened for the fourth successive quarter. A base of 1.00 was established in 2006, and the first quarter of 2018 saw it reach 2.63, up from 2.59 for the previous quarter.
The higher the figure, the greater the likelihood of a RAC member suffering a breakdown as a result of damage caused by a pothole or other road surface defects – which would suggest that the surface quality of the roads at that time is poor.
The current index is considerably lower than its peak in the first three months of 2010 (at 3.5), but it’s still not good news for UK road links.
RAC chief engineer David Bizley commented that the severe weather hit relatively late in the quarter, which could mean that its effect may well be reflected in the RAC Pothole Index figures for the second quarter, where there is usually a severe drop in the number of breakdowns as a result of pothole damage.
What does this mean for hauliers? Well, breakdowns cost hauliers money. And unplanned downtime in order to fix pothole-related issues is expensive too.
According to the RHA, the government has pledged to make a further £100 million available (on top of the existing £75 million already given to councils and the £46 million boost announced before Christmas) for councils across the UK to repair potholes and other damage caused by recent extreme weather conditions.
According to the RAC, drivers contribute in excess of £40 billion in motoring taxation each year, and many feel they should not have to endure substandard roads as a result. The RAC is therefore calling for ring-fencing of additional long-term funding to provide the money needed to bring local roads back to a condition that is fit for purpose over a period of five to 10 years.
It claims that by ring-fencing just 3p for local road maintenance from the 58p fuel duty paid by motorists on every litre of fuel purchased over seven years, councils would have an extra £9.5 billion – which is enough to eliminate the maintenance backlog on roads in England and Wales, according to a recent survey of councils conducted by the Asphalt Industry Alliance.
This is certainly something for the government to think about and would definitely make the fuel duty more worthwhile for drivers.