House Dems: You Shouldn’t Have to Pay For Pothole Damage

Bills would make it easier to receive state reimbursements for pothole damage
Thursday, April 12, 2018

LANSING — State Reps. Patrick Green (D-Warren), Darrin Camilleri (D-Brownstown Township) and Leslie Love (D-Detroit) introduced legislation today to make it easier for Michigan drivers to file claims for reimbursements from the state for damages due to potholes.

“Our roads and bridges are critical for connecting our communities and providing Michiganders the opportunity to go to work or take their children to school,” Green said. “Unfortunately, due to the mismanagement and poor leadership over the past seven years, our roads have become more dangerous than ever. This legislation helps ensure working families are not stuck footing the bill because Republicans in the Legislature refuse to act.”

In 2016, AAA published a study that discovered U.S. drivers pay nearly $3 billion every year due to pothole damage. House Bill 5817 would work to increase the amount that the state can reimburse a driver for pothole-related damages from the current $1,000 to $5,000.

Currently, in order to be reimbursed for damages related to potholes, a road entity must have known about the pothole for at least 30 days and have failed to fix it. HB 5816 would reduce that time period from 30 days to seven days. Last year, the state only paid nine of the 267 claims it received due to “insufficient notice,” or claiming to have not known about the pothole for at least 30 days. This legislation would make it easier to both afford and file claims for car repairs due to the state’s pothole-riddled roads.

“Michigan drivers deserve safe roads. While legislative leadership refuses to pass a meaningful and effective road funding plan, we’re stepping up to help drivers better afford repairs caused by deteriorating roads,” Camilleri said. “My colleagues and I are committed to doing all we can to not only help Michigan drivers cope with the state of our roads, but to fight for a road funding solution that will fix our roads now, and make sure they are built to last.”

Additionally, the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) does not make the report filings publically available. House Bill 5815 would require that the reports date and location be posted in a public database and maintained for 30 days after the pothole is fixed or filled, giving citizens an opportunity to find out when the state was first notified of the pothole.

“Drivers should have access to pothole reports so that they receive the compensation they deserve,” Love said. “If the state insists on claiming ‘insufficient notice’ then they should have to prove they were unaware. Without providing this information to the public, it is impossible to tell when the state was notified and as a result of these inaccessible records and that means that everyday people are being hurt. Detroiters, who have the highest car insurance in the nation and some of the worst roads in the state, deserve better.”