Why doesn’t steel barrier have an MOT every year?

Much of the current road technology in the UK is based around specified safety requirements from the 1960s. That was fine when we were all driving around in Morris Minors and Triumph Heralds but it is clearly not suitable for modern vehicles that weigh twice as much as their 1960s counterparts.

Compare the size and weight of a modern super lorry with the commercial vehicles that were on the roads forty years ago. A bog standard lorry now weighs in at around 44 tonnes whilst proposed super lorries weigh as much as 60 tonnes.

Unfortunately, much of the infrastructure on the UK motorways has not kept pace with these technical developments. Here at Safer Motorways, we regularly point out that old and out of date steel barrier is desperately in need of replacement and yet, as we revealed last month, many counties in the UK have continued to ignore our pleas to update the steel barrier that is visibly no longer fit for purpose.

Many counties in the UK are failing to make essential upgrades on UK motorways.

What is the point of making motorists carry out a yearly MOT on their vehicle if the steel barrier that is supposed to protect them in the event of an accident is 30 years old and rusted through? If motorists are expected to ensure that their vehicles are fit for purpose in 2010, is it not reasonable for the Transport Minister to ensure the roads are in similar condition? After all, motorists are entitled to ask where all that money they pay in road tax and fuel tax actually goes if not in maintaining the very roads that these vehicles are expected to drive on.

Surely, steel barrier on both motorways and major roads needs to have an M.O.T. to ensure it is also fit for purpose.

We appeal to everyone associated with road safety, from the Highways Agency to the occasional weekend driver, from theTransport Secretary to those working in the UK haulage industry, please apply as much pressure as you can to ensure that investment in the UK road network is not compromised in the name of so-called short-term savings.

Everyone is trying to cut corners and save money these days and despite many protests it isn’t so difficult when you actually sit down and think about it.

It would be far cheaper for you, for example, if you didn’t bother to service your central heating boiler this year. Skipping a service on your motor car would also save you a few hundred pounds – more if you are a two-car family. Other ideas include replacing your broken washing machine with the cheapest model you can possibly find and how about cutting back on your contents insurance policy, after all, you haven’t claimed in the past ten years so why bother to pay it this year?

This isn’t such a flippant comment because you would realise immediate savings. The impact on your cash flow would kick-in on day one. You would SAVE money – immediately.

My point is, if you want to save a bit of money, it really is very easy.

In fact, the ideas listed above would not only save you hundreds of pounds, they would more likely save you thousands of pounds, and chances are you wouldn’t even notice any difference to your lifestyle. Your car wouldn’t grind to a halt the very next day just because you missed a service and if you haven’t claimed on your contents insurance for the last ten years the chances are you won’t be claiming this year either.

Investment in the UK road network is currently run on the very same arguments I have just outlined.

The point here is that investment should not measured in terms of the initial purchase price but in terms of the true long-term cost. All of the above so called “savings” have what is best described as a “down the road cost” (a very appropriate pun) whereby the glow of any short-term saving is more than wiped out by the cost when something goes wrong. The cost of a new engine for example is far greater than the cost of a service. When we cost a particular item of expenditure we must include all associated costs not just the purchase price.

When human life is at risk, the true cost of any perceived savings is suddenly put into even sharper focus.

What price a human life?