New driving law could see Brits charged fines for swerving or hitting potholes

Drivers could face fines for hitting a pothole or even swerving to avoid it, a top lawyer has claimed.

Nick Freeman has warned crashing while trying to avoid a pothole would see motorists charged.

However, local authorities would also be likely to "refute" any claim for damages if they ruined their car by hitting the hole.

Now the lawyer has called for clear guidance to be issued to drivers over what they should do on badly maintained roads.

He said: "Swerving to avoid a pothole won't afford you a defence in court if you have an accident. You will be criminally liable.

"And there's a fair chance you'll be charged with anything from driving without due care – to a more serious offence depending on the consequences."

Nick added: "Conversely, if you drive over a pothole and damage your car, the local authority will more than likely refute any civil claim for damages – arguing that the driver should have been more careful.

"So, the motorist is caught between a rock and a hard place.

"That's why the Government needs to give clear guidance – through the law – over what a motorist is supposed to do, so that the already beleaguered driver is exculpated and no longer responsible from a criminal or civil perspective.

"Put simply there should be a special defence to cater for the parlous state of our roads – which the motorist is not responsible for."

  • New tyre law to be introduced this week will help drivers to boost road safety

It comes as the first three months of 2021 saw nearly 5,000 call outs for vehicles damaged by potholes, the RAC revealed.

Those figures are three times more compared to the first three months of 2020.

The Local Government Association has previously claimed it would take up to 14 years to clear the backlog of damage on UK roads.

However, Nick has hit back at councils for not repairing roads during the lockdowns last year.

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He said the level of potholes was "hardly ideal for road safety" as he pushed for new rules to immediately be introduced.

Nick added: "Trying to navigate some roads is very much like playing British Bulldog – a lot of dodging and swerving.

"Hardly ideal for road safety. Drivers need to be emboldened when faced with the dilemma of what to do when confronted with a pothole.

"Current options of either swerving to avoid or driving over them are both unpalatable. There needs to be legislation to specify how the motorist should tackle this ridiculous situation."

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