AA says pothole damage to vehicles is at a five-year high
The number of cars being damaged by potholes has reached a five-year high, says the AA.
Damage to vehicles, estimates the breakdown organisation, stands at almost half a billion pounds with warnings that cyclists and motorcyclists are at risk of very serious injury.
Figures show the AA dealt with 631,852 pothole-related incidents in 2023 – the highest number of calls for help in five years.
The issue has prompted it to form a new ‘Pothole Partnership’ – along with other organisations including British Cycling, the British Motorcyclists Federation and manufacturer JCB – with the aim of representing the interests of drivers, motorcyclists, pedestrians as well as those who repair the roads.
Last year pothole damage to vehicles cost £474,000,000, according to new figures drawn up by the coalition, which aims to press the case for more ‘effective, permanent repairs’.
The numbers have been released on Monday to coincide with National Pothole Day and to draw attention to the problems plaguing road users.
Among the 632,000 pothole-related incidents in 2023 were tyre, wheel, steering and suspension damage. It marks a 16.3% increase in issues when compared with 2022 when the breakdown group recorded 543,000 call outs.
And with most new cars no longer carrying a spare tyre as standard, the AA adds that pothole punctures are now costing drivers more time and money.
Edmund King, AA president, said repairs were in a ‘vicious circle’.
He explained: “Currently, we often have a vicious circle of: pothole formed; damage caused; pothole patched; pothole reappears with more damage caused - when what we need are more permanent repairs.
“Potholes are the number one concern for 96% of drivers and can be fatal for those on two wheels so hopefully pressure from the Pothole Partnership will lead to permanent repairs.”
Craig Carey-Clinch, executive director of the National Motorcyclists Council, has added his voice to the calls for urgent action.
He explained: “The situation is becoming ever more acute for motorcyclists. Potholes and other road surface related defects are already shown to be extremely dangerous for motorcycle riders.
“The same pothole that damages a car, could prove fatal to a rider. Action is needed now to urgently clear the backlog of repairs.”
he coalition is calling on councils to ‘limit’ the practice of temporary pothole repairs or patches and is urging the government to accelerate and increase the spending of the £8.3bn pothole fund for England. The group also wants government to ring-fence money and to see ‘full transparency’ from local authorities about their repair backlogs, patching works and resurfacing.