Potholes and poor roads are costing UK driversBusinesses and the UK economy are also being hit
26 October 2010
Two separate surveys of road conditions in the UK have highlighted the huge costs pothole-riddled highways are creating for drivers.
Both Halfords and the Asphalt Industry Alliance (AIA) have released details of the financial costs to the UK economy, businesses and members of the public due to worsening road conditions over the last 12 months.
Potholes cost motorists £320m a year
Halfords has estimated that potholes cause one in five of all incidents of mechanical damage to vehicles in Britain, costing motorists £320m a year.
Potholes have become more widespread due to last year’s winter weather conditions. Halfords' Autocentres have experienced an 8% rise in tyre jobs, a 10% increase in balancing and alignment repairs, and a 15% rise in suspension repairs over the last year.
The retailer highlighted survey figures from the Cyclists’ Touring Club (CTC) – the UK’s national cyclists’ organisation – which found that 58% more dangerous potholes have emerged on major highways compared to last year.
According to the survey, less than a third of potholes have been properly repaired, leaving on average one pothole for every 110 metres of road in Britain.
Bill Collins, technical manager for Halfords Autocentres, said: "The number of car owners coming to us with problems following collisions with potholes is increasing markedly.
“Damaged wheels and tyres, and broken steering and suspension components are becoming commonplace ailments in some areas and costing motorists dearly.
“The bill following a severe impact can be many hundreds of pounds, especially with more modern cars fitted with large alloy wheels, and their tyres provide very little protection against sharp impacts.”
The CTC’s survey named Dumfries and Galloway, Bedfordshire, West Dumbartonshire, Central Bedfordshire, Havering and Barnsley as the worst local authorities for repairing potholes with just 10% of repairs undertaken.
Cumbria, Cheshire West, Cheshire, West Lothian, Newcastle, Norwich and Bolton were the best, repairing 95% or more of potholes in their regions.
Badly maintained local roads cost economy £4.1bn a year
The AIA also released figures on the back of a survey carried out by YouGov showing £4.1bn a year costs in wasted staff time, production delays and damage repairs for the UK economy.
The report found poor local roads are costing 55% of small and medium sized enterprises £13,600 a year.
Members of the public were also surveyed by YouGov, with a third saying that the condition of a road affected where they chose to shop and 45% said it influenced where to buy a house.
Independent website Potholes.co.uk has estimated that councils have paid out £50m in compensation for damage caused to vehicles by last winter’s potholes, with thousands still waiting for claims to be resolved.