Motorists in North Yorkshire are being warned of muddy roads.

Farmers and vehicle operators who deposit mud on the road are potentially liable for a range of offences and a range of powers are available to the police and the highway authority, primarily under the Highways Act 1980 and the Road Traffic Act 1988.

The council says farmers or construction vehicle operators must:

  • Be prepared to hire equipment to promptly remove deposits
  • Keep to their own farm roads whenever possible
  • Keep to low speeds and prevent mud from being deposited by removing any excess before driving on to roads
  • Use authorised signs positioned to give maximum visibility to road users
  • Clean the road as necessary during the working day and always at the end of the working day
  • Ensure that labour and equipment is available and is suitable for the soil and weather conditions
  • Where a contractor is used, ensure that prior agreement is reached on who is responsible for mud on road (signs, cleaning etc) and that adequate public liability insurance is in place.
  • public liability insurance is in place.

The Highways Act 1980 states:

“If a person, without lawful authority or excuse, deposits anything whatsoever on a highway in consequence of which a user of the highway is injured or endangered, that person is guilty of an offence.”

The Road Traffic Act 1988 covers situations where a vehicle is driven dangerously on a road. Driving dangerously can include driving a vehicle in a state that could cause danger to others. Punishment for these offences ranges from fines to imprisonment.

The county council’s executive member for Highways, Councillor Don Mackenzie, said:
“Where mud results in personal injury, damage to property, loss or inconvenience, civil action can be taken.
It can constitute a public nuisance and loss or injury can result in a claim for negligence.

In its role as the highways authority, the county council has a duty to assert and protect the rights of road users.

Section 149 of the Highways Act 1980 gives the Highway Authority the power to clean the road and recover its expenses from the person causing the obstruction.’’

Courtesy of Yorkshire Coast Radio news