Breakdowns cause 185,000 motorway closures

Breakdowns caused 185,000 motorway and A-road lane closures during 2014, according to data obtained by the Institute of Advanced Motorists.

The data, which came from a Freedom of Information request by the IAM, showed there were a total of 443,590 lane closures on the motorway and A-road network. Breakdowns account for around 40 per cent of the total.

Other causes were 12,759 incidences of people walking in a live lane, plus 122 unsupervised children; 7,446 cases of ‘non-legal’ use of the hard shoulder; 3,990 of loose animals; 2,598 of abandoned vehicles and 6,742 of shed tyres.

Slightly surprisingly, planned roadworks were only responsible for 14 per cent of lane closures, while ‘administration’ (i.e. police and VOSA checks) accounted for five per cent.

29,656 collisions where no-one was injured closed lanes; 6,288 that did result in injury also caused closures. There were also 856 cases of suicide or attempted suicide; 152 of objects being thrown onto the carriageway and 567 of vehicles driving the wrong way.

That breakdowns account for so many lane closures is slightly staggering. The data doesn’t reveal the causes; some will inevitably happen unexpectedly – blow-outs, damage caused by debris on the carriageway, the car’s computers having a meltdown, that sort of thing. But most must surely be preventable, due largely to bad maintenance.

IAM boss Sarah Sillars said: “People are putting their own lives at risk and those of others by not maintaining their vehicles properly to the point they break down on our busiest roads.”

“[The data] also shows people do not treat our key economic arteries with the respect they deserve,” she added. “Pedestrians, unsupervised children and objects thrown on the road should never be happening. It is clear an education and awareness campaign starting at school age is badly needed.”

By Only Motors

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