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Pothole-related car damage soars by 20%

By Mathilda Bartholomew | August 22, 2023

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Councils are facing "the largest annual pothole repair backlog ever" due to decades of reduced government funding

Pothole-related car damage soars by 20%

According to the AA motoring organisation, instances of car damage due to potholes increased by nearly 20% in comparison to the previous July.

A particularly wet month meant that visibility of potholes was obscured for drivers and councils' repair efforts were delayed.

The AA highlighted common damages to cars, including harmed shock absorbers and dented wheels. In total, the organisation reported 50,079 call-outs in July to aid vehicles stranded after encountering potholes—the highest number for that month since 2018.

The AA further noted that 2023, thus far, ranks as the third "worst year" for pothole-related breakdowns. The organisation responded to 362,172 incidents by the end of the previous month.

This problem could further burden drivers already grappling with exceptionally high vehicle costs, including a 50.9% increase in insurance premiums over the last year.

Jack Cousens, the AA's Head of Roads Policy, remarked that councils are now under increased pressure to conclude planned repair projects before winter sets in.

"With 2023 shaping up to be one of the worst years on record for pothole damage, we need to witness greater investment in local road maintenance funding," Mr. Cousens emphasized, adding that pothole damage can prove fatal for cyclists and motorcyclists.

The cost of rectifying potholed roads in England and Wales has been estimated at £14 billion. The government raised its Potholes Fund by £200 million to £709 million for 2023.

Shaun Davies, Chair of the Local Government Association, noted that "decades" of reduced government funding have resulted in "the largest annual pothole repair backlog ever" for councils.

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