If, when driving, you collide with ‘street furniture’ (such as a barrier), you will likely be presented the bill for the repair. In some areas, if the repair is over £10,000, the Public Authority (PA) such as Highway England, is sent the bill, pays their contractor then seeks payment from you. If the bill is below £10,000 the contractor is not paid by the PA but pursues you, your insurer or your company (if a fleet vehicle) for the money.
The same staff attend the incidents, the same vehicles and same materials are used in the repair, so why, are drivers fleets and insurers charged more than the PA for staff, plant and materials? It appears drivers, fleets and insurers are subsidizing road maintenance; that Public Authorities are aware of this and permit it. For examples, registered users click here.
Driving on England’s Highways (roads) should involve getting from ‘A’ to ‘B’ safely, economically & promptly. However, the hazards facing a driver have increased. If involved in a collision, fire or spillage resulting in damage to the carriageway, barriers or similar, drivers are increasingly ‘thrown to the wolves’; left to the mercy of some contractors.
“It appears Highways England has failed in its duty to monitor their contractors” – P. Swift of Claims Management & Adjusting Ltd
In 09/2015, Highways England advised with regard to their contractors “They can do what they like with their own claims, that’s absolutely nothing to do with us”. Similar quotes can be found at: ‘Highways England Do Not Care‘, with Highways England acknowledging that they can also have difficulty obtaining information from their own contractors. In 11/2015 we asked pertinent questions of Highways England and a contractor’s extremely crude approach which we believed may be unlawful. The letter is here, to date we have received no response.
You may find yourself presented with a sizeable bill to repair damage or simply because someone swept up the resultant debris – in all likelihood, the charge will be excessive, exaggerated. In 2013 we saw £125 ( invoice here) for attendance, but 2014 this had increased to over £2700 (AIW & Vehicle) with one contractor.
|Claims & Costs – unsubstantiated charges, profiteering methodologies. Charges can quickly increase if unchecked … take emergency attendance operatives £125 to £1500 then £2700, in 18 months – click here.|
Hazards – debris / litter, distracted driving, tyres, animals
Concerns – CCTV, re-surfacing & erroneous information emanating from Councils, TfL, Highways England their contractors and agents
|Information – obstruction & contradiction – Highways England’s default position appears to be ‘to withhold information rather than freely making it available for public scrutiny’ – source 04/02/2016 W. Mids Police & Crime Commissioner 11-SPCB-07-June-16-M6-Inquiry|
Secure pages – Resources for registered users
Some contractor bills have dramatically increased over the years, but is this surprising when, for example, the head of Kier Highways Ltd’s DCP (Damage to Crown Property) team advised:
“We have, I think, a traceability percentage of something like 47% which then means that 50% of those end up having to go at our cost. So when you’re in a world where budgets are getting cut all the time and, you know, at the moment the biggest I’ve ever known them to be cut ever, then… We are actually making as a business 450 people redundant, and that is because we can’t reconcile the revenue and the costs to our business.”
14/07/2017 – Highways England investigates ‘false’ claims allegations: (click here for report). On 26/06/2017, The Earl of Lytton spoke in the House of Lords:
“Like other noble Lords, I suggest that there are many areas in which public administration and corporate social responsibility must improve. Regulators often appear ineffective, even toothless, and ethical tests seem to be missing from their toolbox …
… but Highways England’s own contractors are apparently not averse to submitting inflated “green claims”, as they are known, for highway infrastructure damage caused during motor accidents. These increase insurance costs, too, and appear to be outwith the contractual arrangements with Highways England, and yet nothing seems to be done about them.”
The speech can be read in full by clicking here – 10:57pm column 274.
Following an incident, a driver, fleet or insurer receives a demand for payment from the repairing contractor:
- Should you pay for the restoration?
- Should you pay in full?
- Are you, or your insurer, being overcharged?
Is the maintenance of our highways being subsidised by drivers, fleet operators (who have a large deductible / excess) and / or their insurers?
There existed a concern this was the case in 2012 and it appears some (if not all) contractors are now less accountable to Highways England (previously The Highways Agency) and in turn, charges may be subject to less scrutiny.