AA dubs potholes a ‘national disgrace’

Copyright Kenneth Allen and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

Published on 25 May 2018 by Matt Colley

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Filed under Category: BMF News

The AA has called for action to tackle the “national disgrace” of potholes that it says are costing drivers and their insurers at least £1 million each month.

Based on its share of the car insurance market, AA Insurance estimates that in the first four months of 2018 there have been more than 4,200 pothole damage claims. With each repair costing an average of around £1,000, the total cost would be £4.2 million.

The AA also says it has handled more pothole claims so far this year than in the whole of 2017. Although the AA figures focus on car drivers, unrepaired potholes have significant implications for motorcycle riders too, with the Institute of Highway Engineers saying they can be “one of the most dangerous hazards for motorcyclists”.

Janet Connor, director of AA Insurance, said: "The pothole epidemic has become nothing short of a national disgrace. According to research by the AA, almost nine out of 10 (88 per cent) drivers say roads are in a worse state now than 10 years ago.

"In most cases, the damage caused by a pothole - such as a ruined tyre or two and perhaps a wheel rim - doesn't justify making an insurance claim due to the policy excess and the potential loss of your no claims discount. So the claims we are seeing are clearly much worse than that.

"Drivers are hitting potholes and ruining their suspension, steering, the underbody of the car or axles, and are occasionally being knocked off course and hitting other vehicles, kerbs or a lamp posts.

"This year we're seeing a growing number of pothole claims described as 'car severely damaged and undriveable', which didn't happen at all last year.”

So far this year, the government has allocated £175 million to help councils repair damage to local roads following severe winter weather. But, according to the 2018 Annual Local Authority Road Maintenance survey published in March by the Asphalt Industry Alliance, it would cost £9.3 billion and take 14 years to carry out all the road repairs needed in England and Wales.

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Picture credit: Kenneth Allen (Creative Commons Licence)