Transport & Car Blog

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Two out of three drivers suffer from pothole damage

  Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Pothole in the road. Photo by Duncan Hull (CC BY 2.0)

Two-thirds of company car and van drivers have suffered some form of damage as a result of hitting a pothole in the last year, according to data from the RAC Foundation.

Almost 29,000 drivers made claims against councils for damage caused in the last financial year.  According to the survey, over £2 million was paid out overall.

Between the 200 local highway authorities in England, Scotland and Wales that responded to the freedom of information request, 28,971 compensation claims in total were made.  This is the equivalent of one claim every 18 minutes, though councils paid compensation on just 25 per cent of claims made.

There was a substantial difference between the different councils in terms of payout.  Bury paid out 88 per cent of cases and Plymouth 86 per cent, but 21 of the councils paid out no claims at all.

According to data from the RAC Foundation, the average settlement for a successful claim increased to £294 for the 2014/15 financial year, an increase from the £286 averaged in the previous year. 

Steve Gooding, the director of the RAC Foundation, said:

“One reading of these figures could be that local roads are in better condition than they were. But that does not square with councils’ own assessment that the road maintenance backlog is actually growing, not falling.”

Last year, the government announced that £6 billion would be set aside to tackling potholes and improve local roads between 2015 and 2021: an investment of £976 million each year, and enough to fix around 18m potholes across the country.

According to the government’s own estimates, meanwhile, bringing local roads in England back to a state fit for purpose would cost £8.6bn.

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