Some of Britain’s top fleet company bosses have named pothole damage as their biggest gripe in new research from RAC Business.
Nearly half - 46% - of the fleet bosses who took part in the poll flagged damage to vehicles caused by potholes as their main problem.
This was closely followed by congestion, which was cited as a challenge by 43% of participants in the survey of 500 firms.
The findings reveal some of the biggest hurdles that fleet companies have to overcome.
These also include the danger of a wider economic slowdown - a worry for 20% of the poll’s respondents.
A further issue for 19% of business leaders is poor vehicle reliability, according to the results.
And restrictions created by congestion charges and low-emission zones were named as a problem by 17% of those questioned.
There was regional variation in the severity of the pothole problem faced by businesses, suggesting pothole damage is more prolific in the North of England.
It was found that 62% of firms in the North East were likely to report this as an issue, compared to 55% of business in the South East.
Commenting on the results of the survey, Jenny Powley, sales director for Corporate Business at RAC Business, said potholes can lead to a significant loss of revenue for firms.
“The time spent off the road due to the damage caused by potholes can amount to hundreds of pounds a day in lost productivity,” she said.
The findings come after a steady rise in the number of call-outs received by the RAC over the past 10 to 15 years due to problems caused by neglected roads.
Common issues include damaged suspension springs, with the RAC seeing a 16% increase in such incidents, from 1,249 in 2014 to 1,455 in 2015.
Ms Powley added: “It’s concerning to see the number of pothole-related breakdowns rising at a time when the Government has committed to investing in maintenance and improving road infrastructure.
“Despite the fact that local authorities increased their spending in 2015 to try to catch up with some of the road maintenance and repair backlog, this data suggests that there is still some way to go.
“The last couple of winters haven’t seen particularly freezing temperatures, which can be a major cause of potholes. But the reality is due to the limited resources available it seems it’s not been possible to take advantage of that respite and keep up with the demand.”