Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Speed bumps cost drivers £250

Motorists living in areas where roads are ‘calmed’ by speed bumps are more likely to have to pay an average £250 repair bill for broken suspension, cracked exhaust systems and smashed trim on their cars

These are the findings of a national car leasing company that says local authorities should instead invest in alternative measures to slow down traffic rather than those which punish drivers.

The company says that many housing estates are still living with the legacy of ill-thought out speed bumps installed years ago that inflict regular damage on residents' cars in attempts to make them drive slower.

‘Speed bumps are out-dated and it's pretty much accepted that they don't make a great deal of difference,’ said Flexed spokesperson Mark Hall.

‘Spend any amount of time on a road with old 'full-width' speed bumps, and you'll see cars going hell for leather between them, only slowing down to cross the obstacle.’
• A study published by Warranty Direct in October 2014 found that the average bill for damage caused by speed bumps was £247, with drivers of some makes looking at bills of over £1,000.
• Even cars with the most robust of suspension systems built by Honda, Toyota and Isuzu have a one-in-thirty chance of suffering suspension damage because of speed bumps and potholes, the same study said.

Speaking to drivers who lived on housing estates where speed bumps were a major feature of council traffic-calming policies, found no shortage of drivers who blamed the bumps for damage to their cars.
• Dave (43), who's a teacher said, ‘I don't go fast over the bumps, but my car still failed its MOT over suspension damage. It cost over £500 to put right.’
• Tanya (39), technical advisor said, ‘I cracked the catalytic convertor on that evil bump round the corner. You won''t believe how much that cost – I might as well have bought another car.’
• Dariusz (66), retired commented, ‘Took the front end off my Audi creeping over a bump. The council said I must have been speeding – but you have to go at walking pace in a low-slung car!’ says that local authorities need to investigate alternative solutions to speed bumps that slow down traffic, but don't damage cars or unnecessarily delay emergency vehicles.

Viable alternatives include:
• Smart bumps – that are islands of 'bump' in a road that slow cars but not buses and emergency vehicles. They still require care as they can still catch the underside of cars even at low speeds
• Chicanes which make drivers think about their speed and their driving line rather than put their foot down. These make more sense in 20mph zones because they force drivers to keep a steady look-out
• Imaginative parking and lane narrowing schemes: These require little road engineering, but make drivers slow down due to obstacles provided by parking bays. An ideal way to make existing cars force traffic to slow down

‘Speed bumps punish law-abiding drivers and it's time they were phased out,’ said spokesperson Mark Hall. ‘You just need to look at how the problem is tackled by the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany to see non-destructive ways of limiting speeds.’

‘Nobody can afford £250 for damage that is not their fault,’ said Mark. ‘Why should drivers put up with this officially sanctioned vandalism?’