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Pothole damages leads to £684m repair bill for British motorists

The survey for Kwik Fit found that 6.3 million drivers suffered damage from hitting potholes in their car last yer, leading to an average cost of £108.60 for repairs to tyres, wheels, suspension, exhausts or other bodywork.

The vast majority of the costs were shouldered by motorists – the Annual Local Authority Road Maintenance (ALARM) survey, also published today, reveals that only £13.5m has been paid out in compensation in England and Wales; just 2.1% of the total cost of damage.

Hitting a pothole is most likely to have caused damage in Yorkshire & Humber and London, where over a third (37% and 35% respectively) of drivers hitting a pothole had to make repairs. Welsh drivers were most likely to be financially unscathed from the impact of a pothole, although even here, 17% faced repair bills.

However, the greatest financial impact has been on drivers in the South East, who have had to pay a whopping £108,149,130 for repairs caused by potholes, followed by drivers in London, with the capital’s roads causing £91,368,450 worth of damage.

Per individual driver, the costliest damage was suffered in the east of England, where drivers had to pay an average of £163.68, nearly three times as much as drivers in Wales, where the average repair bill was £61.83. Welsh drivers have collectively faced the lowest bill of all regions at £12.4million, less than half the cost to drivers in the north east of England, the second lowest region.

Roger Griggs, communications director at Kwik Fit, said: “We all understand that council budgets are stretched right across the country, but this research shows the financial burden being placed upon individual motorists. And that’s purely the repair bill – it doesn’t take into account the inconvenience to people in having their cars off the road for repairs. One pothole can cause misery for countless motorists, so it’s vital that local authorities make it as easy as possible for people to report the presence of a pothole. But we would also encourage drivers to do their bit by reporting the ones they see and not relying on others to do it.

“Fortunately not everyone who hits a pothole suffers damage, but alloy wheels and low profile tyres make our cars more vulnerable to costly repairs when we do. Sometimes damage won’t appear obvious immediately, so we encourage anyone who has hit a pothole to keep checking their tyres and wheels in the days afterwards.”

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for nearly 20 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day.