One of the biggest problems drivers face when completing courier jobs is potholes. At their worst, these serious defects on the road surface can be impossible to predict and very difficult to avoid. |
But all that could be about to change. Under pressure from both the transport industry and ordinary drivers, the government is trialling new techniques to make potholes a thing of the past. Read on to find out more.
Most road users have experienced trouble due to poor surfaces at some point in the past. But the sheer scale of the problem might still be surprising.
Potholes account for …
• One third of mechanical issues experienced by UK drivers. • As much as £2.8 billion in repairs costs. • Increasing numbers of reports to highways authorities.
Anyone out there every day doing courier jobs has no doubt only seen issues increase. Despite a small decline in late 2018, RAC data shows that drivers are two and a half times as likely to experience pothole-related breakdowns now as they were in 2006.
Clearly, something needs to be done.
Money, Money, Money
Thanks to pressure from many quarters, including from transport industry organisations, the government has started allocating more funds to deal with the issue. The 2018-19 budget included £420 million extra for road maintenance, in a clear sign that concerns are being heeded.
But how will this money affect those of us doing courier jobs?
Of course, drivers have good reason to be sceptical. Funds have been allocated to fix roads before, without much change. Worse, local councils have a lot of discretion when it comes to how they define potholes. There is no standard legal definition, so while most tend to stick to a 40mm depth and 30mm width, some unscrupulous authorities sometimes try to avoid acknowledging the problem.
This leaves all drivers, including those of us using the roads for our courier jobs, in an unfair and insecure place. After all, how can we prepare for and respond to problems when we don’t have details on where they’ll arise?
Thankfully, drivers have reason to be hopeful.
A New Solution?
Included in the £420 million allocation is £23 million to trial new road surfacing materials and repair techniques. The transport secretary was refreshingly clear about the scale of the issue. ‘Potholes’, he said, ‘are the number one enemy for road users, and this government is looking at numerous ways to keep our roads in the best condition.’
Encouraging words, but how can we guarantee any improvement?
The answer lies in an innovative new solution being trialled by eight local authorities. Essentially, waste plastic is recycled into small pellets, which are then added into the asphalt mix, replacing the binding agent, bitumen. Experts promise this new technique will extend the lives of our roadways. Although it’s early days yet, the method does seem to be showing results. Extra funding has already been secured in Cumbria, and the trial is due to expand elsewhere as results come in.
So, could this unique new process really change the day-to-day life of those of us who do courier jobs? It’s impossible to say but the signs we have are encouraging, to say the least. Delivery drivers might soon notice a lot of improvement.
Norman Dulwich is a correspondent for Courier Exchange, the world's largest neutral trading hub for same day courier jobs in the express freight exchange industry. Over 5,400 member companies are networked together through the Exchange to fill empty capacity, get new clients and form long-lasting business relationships.
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