Pothole damage forces 2.7 million off the road, poll finds

Pothole road

Pothole damage has forced nearly 2.7million cars off the road in the last 12 months, Kwik Fit’s annual Pothole Impact Tracker (PIT) report shows.

The report found that in the year to March 2023, 13.1 million drivers suffered damage to their car after hitting a pothole, and of these, one in five had to do without their vehicle for more than a week while it was undergoing repairs.

57% of British drivers say they have hit at least one pothole a week over the last twelve months, with the impact causing damage to over 13 million cars.

The average repair bill faced by each driver was £127, resulting in a total cost to the nation’s motorists of £1.7bn.

Since the first study into the cost of repairing the damage from pothole impact in 2013, the total burden on British motorists has more than doubled – rising by 121%.

This is despite the number of cars on the nation’s roads increasing by only 10% over the same period.

The increased costs are reflective of motorists’ responses when asked about the condition of the nation’s roads.

More than half of all drivers (51%) say the condition of the roads in their area are worse than ten years ago, with 39% saying they are significantly worse.

Only one in eight (13%) say the roads are in better condition than a decade ago.

Nearly half of all drivers (47%) think that a portion of the money the government raises through fuel duty and vehicle excise duty (commonly called ‘road tax’) should be ringfenced for improving road surfaces.

However, with today’s Annual Local Authority Road Maintenance report revealing that local authorities need more than £14bn to fix the backlog of carriageway repairs, the challenge for the government is clear.

Only one in ten drivers (10%) say they would be prepared to pay more fuel or excise duty for direct spending on road surfaces.

A similar small minority (10%) would be happy to pay more council tax if it was ringfenced for roads in their local area.

Inflation has driven the cost of individual repairs up over the last decade with some drivers being hit especially hard. Although £127 was the average figure over the last year, many drivers had to pay much more than that, with 850,000 drivers having to stump up over £300 to get their car back on the road.

Roger Griggs, communications director at Kwik Fit, said: “We know councils have huge demands on their budgets, but it is better that they are aware of a pothole as early as possible.

“The condition of road surfaces only goes in one direction, so the longer a problem is left, the more costly it will be to repair.

“And obviously, in the meantime, the more damage it will be doing to vehicles and causing problems for drivers whose vehicles are off the road.”

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