AA plans pothole patrol

16th October 2012

Anyone who uses Britain's roads on a regular basis will be well aware of the danger and discomfort that potholes can cause, and the AA has asked its members to take action to highlight the issue.

So-called AA Streetwatchers will be contacted by the association in a bid to get them to donate one hour to assess the state of their local roads.

A survey will then be sent to members and they willl be given the opportunity to assess and quantify the number of potholes, poor road repairs, uneven paths, worn road markings and other potential hazards on the streets around them.

Edmund King, president of the AA, has suggested the campaign will give a clearer picture of the state of Britain's roads.

"We know that local authorities have been working hard to bring highways up to standard after three successive bad winters, with a respite last year.

"Let's hope our Streetwatchers find that, despite budget cuts, roads and paths aren't too bad in their neighbourhoods", he said.

This year's campaign is particularly targeted at cyclists and those who drive motorbikes as "potholes, uneven road surfaces and exposed manhole covers are an even bigger threat to those on two wheels", Mr King suggested.

The results of 2011's Streetwatch survey showed that there was an average of 15 potholes per participant in England.

Scotland had the worst roads, as according to the survey 20 potholes were discovered by participants, while those in Wales got off lightly with just 13 discovered per person.

The Highways Agency states that "potholes are an unfortunate consequence of the heavy use to which our roads are subjected and the vagaries of the English weather".

It goes on to suggest that while effort is taken to fill them, "it is unrealistic to expect that all potholes will be immediately dealt with".

In August 2011, Highways Agency guidelines were changed to state that any pothole measuring less than 15 cm wide or four cm deep would no longer be classed as needing urgent repair.

According to a survey conducted by the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) in July 2011, one third of those polled reported having their car damaged by a pothole.

When questioned about the council's attempts at maintaining local roads, some 50 per cent said they believed the roads were getting worse in their area.

Neil Grieg, IAM director of policy and research, said: "The public is unhappy with the state of their roads, although many realise that spending cuts are the real problem.

"Eighty per cent of those polled thought that local councils should work more closely together to increase efficiency, and with no loosening of the public purse strings in sight it will take partnerships to ensure the backlog in road maintenance does not continue to stack up."

The potential hazards of potholes were highlighted further by the survey, which revealed that 16 per cent of respondents had either been involved in, or had witnessed an accident as a result of someone hitting a pothole.

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