Local Authorities have a duty under Section 41(1)(a) of the Highways Act 1980 to avoid so far as reasonably practicable, road users being endangered by formation of ice. The duty requires the Highways Agency and Local Authorities to prioritise the most important routes putting in place appropriate systems and ensuring that they are conscientiously followed by the contractors and staff engaged in the gritting process that is an important part of that duty and road users are entitled to expect that it has been complied with
In this case our client was on his way to work as a HGV driver on a motorcycle using main roads and proceeding with caution. As he left one road to turn onto another he slipped on ice and sustained significant injuries.
Following the accident the local Highways Authority showed records showing that it had salted the road in question on the previous evening. However, on scrutinising the records it became clear that the driver of the gritting vehicle could not have sufficiently gritted the road in the time shown on his individual records, and could not have been driving the gritting vehicle at a speed slow enough to ensure that the grit was correctly placed.
The insurers initially denied liability but decided to settle the case on the day that the case went to trial.
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