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Damaging potholes inflate frustration among ETX drivers

Updated: Jun. 7, 2019 at 8:32 AM CDT
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TYLER, Texas (KLTV) -More potholes are popping up around East Texas.

This morning, we're looking at who's responsible for paying for the damage to your car.

Recent severe weather across East Texas is often followed by potholes.

Chris Haley’s vehicle was recently damaged by potholes on his street in Smith County and tells KLTV, ”you try to brace yourself if you know it's going to be a big one. You think you're going to blow a tire or bend a wheel. it jars your back a little bit.”

Drivers like Haley know the frustration when it comes to potholes.

“It’s just frustrating to have to spend that money on fixing my vehicle for me to get work. Where that money could go to something better, food on our table, house payment,” explains Haley.

The potholes on his roadway have since been repaired, but Haley says the impact caused $700 worth of damage to his vehicle.

“I would just like something to be done, a more permanent solution to what they’re doing,” says Haley.

He says he has put a lot of money into fixing his car after repeatedly having to drive over potholes and wants to know if the county should be paying for the damage.

Terry Phillips is Smith County Commissioner for Precinct 3 in Smith County. He says crews patch potholes daily.

“I fix potholes daily when somebody calls., We’re on that every day. There’s no implementing, it’s just getting out and doing it,” explains Phillips.

Smith County Road and Bridge repairs them, but who’s responsible for paying for the damage they cause? According to Phillips it’s not them.

“That’s where my complaints come from: drainage issues, potholes,” adds Phillips.

Michael Christopher, Insurance Agent, Christopher Insurance Agency and tells KLTV when potholes get bad he hears from clients and he says there isn’t much drivers can do but file a claim or pay for it themselves.

“If the county paid for every pothole someone hit it would-be never-ending liability on the county’s part. Most of the time it’s going to fall on the driver’s responsibility,” explains Christopher.

Although a $39.5 million road bond was passed by voters in 2017 for repair and construction work, that’s still not enough to fix all the roads in Smith County, much to the dismay of many drivers.

“There is frustration you know, but mother nature has almost wiped us out on this pothole situation,” says Phillips.

Smith County leaders say they try to fix potholes as quickly as possible, often within 48 hours of a report.

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