Clumsy council drivers cost £350,000
CLUMSY council drivers have cost the tax payer over £350,000 in the past four years.
Reversing into parked cars, clipping wing mirrors and crashing into walls have seen the liability bill go through the roof.
Successful compensation claims against the council for motoring accidents range from just £18 up to £18,899.
But a drive to cut down the number of claims has seen the figure fall from 71 in 2007/08 to just 23 last year.
And bosses at the local authority don't fell the bill is excessive.
A spokesperson told the Border Telegraph: "Our drivers receive regular training and in many cases require a great deal of skill to manoeuvre large vehicles such as refuse lorries along routes which can sometimes present challenges.
"With around 800 vehicles in our fleet the number of incidents over this four year period which resulted in a claim having to be handled by our insurers is not out of the ordinary."
Scottish Borders Council has forked out £310,758 in compensation for collisions and bangs since 2008.
And the claims have also cost them £45,000 in legal fees.
Borders MSP Christine Grahame believes the local authority should be investing more time and money into driver training. She told us: "Almost all accidents can be prevented and they are normally down to driver error.
"This is a lot of money to be paying out. It wouldn't cost nearly as much to make sure drivers are regularly trained.
"We all know it is difficult driving on rural roads and also in our towns, but this bill has to brought down."
During the same five years the Newtown St Boswells-based authority has paid out just under £220,000 in public liability payments for damage to vehicles caused by road defects, as well as trips and falls on pavements and other council land.
A further £67,000 was used out of public funds to meet the legal fees which accompany the claims.
Border Telegraph Poll
Do you think community councillors should support plans to spend £5,500 on a new lamp post in Galashiels to mark the Queen's Diamond Jubilee? See this week's Border Telegraph for more details.
This Poll is now closed.