By Denna Bowman
Motorists lives are being put at risk because of a pothole epidemic, according to an alarming report by the Daily Herald.
Its research has revealed that four people have died and 44 others seriously injured during the past five years, because of road craters.
Now motoring groups are warning that lives are still being put at risk due to spending cuts and they are calling on councils to invest making Scotland’s roads safer.
The Daily Record also reported that over the past five years 502 crashes were caused by drivers hitting or swerving to avoid craters.
The RAC is among the critics warning that lives are being put at risk by the state of the roads.
Scotland’s pothole problem has been laid bare by freedom of information requests submitted by the Daily Record as part of its investigation.
The findings revealed that a total of 189 people were injured in crashes caused by the road surface. However, the newspaper reports that the toll may be higher, because three of the eight former police forces refused its request for information, while another provided incomplete data.
Of those who responded, Strathclyde Police reported 345 crashes over just three years. There were 150 injuries, 28 of them serious. Three people were killed.
Central Police saw 20 crashes over five years, including one fatal crash in 2011 in the Stirling area. Nine people were injured, five of them seriously.
The full findings and breakdown of the of the investigation are available at http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/killer-potholes-four-people-died-2001857.
Commenting on the report, RAC technical director David Bizley said: “We’re saddened but not surprised. The findings show that potholes don’t just damage cars – they damage lives as well.
“It is now essential that sufficient funds are spent by local authorities on maintaining existing roads to an acceptable quality.
“Lives are being put at risk for the sake of a situation that can easily be put right.”
Franki Hackett of road safety charity Brake urged councils and road agencies to get on top of the problem.
She added: “We also ask drivers to drive well within speed limits, with extra caution on rural roads.”