Speed bumps damage a fifth of vehicles

Van damage due to speed bumps

A fifth of drivers has had their vehicles damaged by speed bumps. But is this the fault of the speed bump – or the driver?

A survey by comparison website confused.com in 2018 showed that 22% of motorists said the speed reduction measures had harmed their cars – with the average cost of a repair being £141. The negative effects of speed humps can include damage to the suspension, tyres, exhausts, radiators and paintwork.

But of course, this is partly what speed bumps are designed to do. Also known as sleeping policemen, they were introduced in the UK in 1983 to deter people from speeding because they know that if they go over them too fast, they risk potentially serious damage to their vehicle. Hitting a hump at speed can cause similar damage to your tyres as hitting a pothole. There are now 29,000-speed bumps in the UK.

The survey was widely reported as indicating that drivers were unhappy with speed bumps, with 41% of the 2,000 motorists surveyed saying they caused too much damage. But that leaves a very clear majority – 59% – who don’t perceive an issue. Almost a third of those surveyed said the bumps should be more clearly signposted, which may be a fair point, but that still leaves a majority who haven’t noticed a problem. And, most tellingly, 19% of drivers admitted they didn’t slow down for speed bumps.

Tim Shallcross, head of technical policy at the Institute of Advanced Motorists, wrote on the Sunday Times Driving website in 2015: “Generally, speed bumps on public roads are designed to slow traffic to about 20mph. As long as you take them at that speed, it doesn’t really matter how you approach them — no harm will come to your car.

“The very narrow rubber humps you find in car parks or on private land are a different matter and are not covered by the same legal regulations. These will shake the fillings out of your teeth at anything above walking pace because that’s the speed they’re designed to slow vehicles to.”

You can claim compensation if you can prove that your van has been damaged by an illegal speed bump, for example, one that's the wrong size or in the wrong place. The Highways (Road Humps) Regulations 1999, which are available online, set out the rules that speed bumps need to comply with.

Through a Freedom of Information request, confused.com found that councils across the UK had paid out £35,000 in compensation between 2015 and 2017 to drivers whose vehicles had been damaged by speed bumps - around 250 successful claims.

If your van has been damaged by a speed bump, get yourself down to Vanwise Group. We don’t just sell a huge variety of used vans, we look after them too – our in-house technicians have been trained in van repairsand servicing for a wide variety of makes and models, so whatever’s gone wrong, we should be able to put it right. Just give us a call or get yourself down to our Harlow workshop – whichever is most convenient for you.