It may seem obvious that litter and debris could cause incidents on our roads.  A lump of metal (debris) can damage tyres such that they burst (sudden loss of all pressure) with a loss of vehicle control, rupture a fuel tank or cut a hose such that fuel or hydraulic fluid spills.

But Highways England appears not to understand this.

More worryingly they appear to miss the link between the cost of clearing this rubbish and what they pay from the public purse – our money.  An example:

A lorry delivering goods runs over a chunk of debris that tumbles beneath the chassis, penetrates the fuel tank and causes a spill.  What is the resultant cost – over and above the immediate shock to the driver who seeks to control his vehicle without causing injury to others or himself?  Highways England knows the impact – they have produced an 11-page booklet ‘What is the impact and cost of a diesel spillage?’.

  • Who is to blame?  

It is likely the Authority will seek payment form the driver (or their insurer) for the clean-up and reinstatement of the road surface.  But why was the debris there?

It is possible the metal had recently fallen from another road user’s vehicle.  Possibly the metal had been there for days, weeks or months … why was it not removed? 

Could it be that clearing the road of debris is an expensive operation, left to Authority contractors who put profit before protection of road users?

There appears to be an irony; that the debris causing an incident is only removed when attending the incident … and can then be billed to the driver or their insurer.

But is it the Authority that should be paying for their inattention?  Read more here – to include a former Kier Claims Manager’s comments. 


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