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Report dangerous potholes to 911?

March 10, 2015 by Steven M. Gursten

Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel urges drivers to call 911 about potholes; Rep. Marilyn Lane wants to stop auto insurance increases based on pothole damage

No one can accuse Macomb County leaders of swerving around the issue of Michigan’s pothole-pocked roads. Leading the charge is Macomb County Executive Mark A. Hackel and Rep. Marilyn Lane (D-Fraser in Macomb County).

In less than two-weeks time, here’s what they’ve done:

  • Macomb County Executive Hackel has urged motorists to call 911 to report “damage-causing potholes” and he has promised that the potholes will be “filled in” by the Macomb County Department of Roads “within an hour.”
  • Rep. Lane has introduced legislation, which, if passed, would prohibit auto insurance companies from increasing rate based on consumers’ pothole-related damage claims.

Hats off to Macomb County Executive Hackel and Rep. Lane.

The pothole problem that is eroding Michigan’s roadways and endangering Michigan drivers is beyond serious and must be addressed now.

To learn about why it’s taking lawmakers so long to act, please check out Michigan Auto Law’s blog post, “Crunch! That’s the sound of ‘pothole summer’ 2014.”

Who ya’ gonna call? Pothole busters

After a press conference on Monday, March 10, 2015, Hackel took to Twitter where he announced:

  • “Drivers in Macomb County urged to call 911 to report severe potholes.”

Similarly, MacombNewsNow (which is the “Official Twitter page of Macomb County government”) tweeted:

  • “Motorists are encouraged to report damage-causing potholes by calling 911 or 586-463-8671.”

“If there is a dangerous, damage causing pothole and there is a call made to a 911 center – if that 911 center calls our department – we will make sure that we send someone sent out within an hour,” Hackel told CBS Detroit, according to a March 9, 2015, story.

Hackel added the following to his promise, according to a March 10, 2015, CBS Detroit report:

“[H]ere in Macomb County, we do want to know [about potholes] and we will address it and make sure that pothole is filled within an hour.”

No auto insurance rate increases for pothole-damage claims

On February 26, 2015, Rep. Marilyn Lane (D-Fraser)(Macomb County) introduced House Bill 4258, which would amend the Insurance Code to bar auto insurers from increasing consumers’ auto insurance rates based on pothole-related vehicle damage claims.

Specifically, HB 4258 proposes the following:

“An automobile insurer shall not establish or maintain a rate, rating classification, premium, or premium surcharge based upon a prior claim for damage to the insured automobile caused by a pothole.”

HB 4258 is identical Rep. Lane’s House Bill 5456, which was introduced on April 17, 2014, but “died” due to inaction at the end of the 2013-14 legislative session.

At the time, in a statement on the Michigan House Democrats website, Rep. Lane explained her reasons for introducing HB 5456:

“‘It is certainly not the driver’s fault that potholes exist on our streets and roads, and it is absolutely not the driver’s fault that a pothole can’t be avoided and damages their car … Motorists shouldn’t face higher rates because our roadways are a mess after one of the worst winters in recent memory. … [and] because of Lansing’s inability to fix the roads.’”

To learn more, please check out Michigan Auto Law’s blog post, “Ouch! Is there a car insurance hike at the bottom of that pothole?”

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