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The price of potholes – motorists’ repair bill surpasses £1.2 billion

The price of potholes – motorists’ repair bill surpasses £1.2 billion
The bill to the UK motorist for repairing pothole damage has skyrocketed to a total of more than £1billion, reveals research published today by Kwik Fit1, the UK’s largest automotive servicing and repair company.

With more than 11 million drivers damaging their vehicle due to poor road conditions over the last year, the cost has reached a staggering £1.21billion – an increase of £296million2 (32%) compared to the year before. 

This is continuing a worrying trend – in the year ending March 2016, the equivalent total bill was £684million3, meaning that the cost of damage reported by motorists has risen by 77% in just three years.

The average cost to the individual motorist of repairing damage to components such as tyres, suspension and wheels has reduced slightly from £111 to £108.86, however, the number of motorists being affected has jumped by 2.9 million since last year. And the total cost is likely to rise even further as 1.4 million drivers say they have yet to have their vehicle repaired.

Almost a third of drivers who have hit a pothole in the last year had their car damaged by the impact, with the most common repairs being to tyres (5.9 million), suspension (3.8 million), wheels (3.7 million), steering (1.7 million), bodywork (1.3 million) and exhaust (1.2 million). 17% of motorists estimate they hit more than 30 potholes over the course of just one month – an average of one a day.

Regionally, Londoners’ wallets are being hit the hardest with an overall bill of £204,681,600, while in Wales the cost to motorists stands at £20,417,100 – a difference of £184,264,500.

 

Source: Research for Kwik Fit 2019 1
Source: Research for Kwik Fit 2019 1

More than half (51%) of people travelling on UK roads believe they are worse now compared to a year ago, with 60% saying they are in a poorer state when compared to 5 years ago. This mirrors the annual ALARM report4 published today by the Asphalt Industry Alliance which states while a 20% increase in funds for road networks is welcome and will halt further decline, the one-off catch-up cost to fix UK roads will only continue to rise.

The ALARM report also reveals that just £6.9million has been paid by local authorities to compensate those affected by potholes despite the bill to motorists topping more than £1billion. This is reflected in Kwik Fit’s research as it found less than a quarter (24%) of people have complained about potholes in their local area to their council.

Source: Research for Kwik Fit 2013, 2016, 2018, 2019 1,2,3,5
Source: Research for Kwik Fit 2013, 2016, 2018, 2019 1,2,3,5

Roger Griggs, Communications Director at Kwik Fit, said: “The cost of damage from potholes is hitting more and more drivers who are continuing to see their cash being spent on issues that are not entirely their fault. Fortunately, this winter has not been as harsh as it has been in recent years, however as we know with the Great British weather, conditions which would further damage our road network could still be round the corner.

“It is worth noting that damage isn’t always immediately noticeable so motorists should give their car a thorough check when they do hit a pothole. Damage can also often be internal so anyone concerned about their car can take it to one of our centres so the staff can put it on the ramp for closer inspection.”