RAC data shows pothole-damage doubles over last 10 years

RAC data shows pothole-damage doubles over last 10 years
The number of vehicle breakdowns caused by pothole-related damage has more than doubled over the last 10 years, a new study from the RAC has revealed.

According to the figures, 0.9% of all call-outs received by the RAC in the year to June 2016 were for pothole-related breakdowns, up from 0.4% in the 12 months to June 2006.

Thousands of motorists require assistance each month for issues such as broken shock absorbers or faulty suspension springs, the RAC said.

The findings have been taken as a sign that the quality of Britain’s roads has declined substantially over the past decade, with calls now being made by the motorist’s champion for bold action to tackle the issue.

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In particular, the analysis showed that there was an alarming rise in pothole call-outs between 2007 and 2009, when the number shot up from 0.5% of the total to 1.1%.

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The quarterly record for pothole-related breakdowns was set at the end of March 2009, when 1.6% of the total call-outs were caused by potholes.

It is thought that this figure, which represents around 12,000 pothole call-outs from a total of 753,000, was provoked by the snowy conditions on the roads.

The percentage did not hit comparatively high levels again until the first two quarters of 2013.

However, when averaged out over the previous 12 months, the quarterly percentage of pothole-related breakdowns has not sunk below 1% since 2013.

David Bizley, the RAC’s chief engineer, said the results painted a “very disappointing picture”.

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“This analysis suggests that the quality of the UK's roads suffered a steady decline from the start of 2007 through to the end of 2009, presumably due to lack of investment in maintenance and resurfacing during worsening economic times,” he said.

“Since then, injections of short-term funding have addressed the immediate aftermath of periods of extreme weather but have not been sufficient to tackle the underlying problem.”

The results come after the Government announced plans to create a Roads Fund financed by vehicle excise duty, which would help to pay for future development of major roads.

But as the majority of pothole damage occurs on local roads, similar attention must now be paid to these to make sure they are fit for purpose.

Mr Bizley said: “Bold and imaginative action is now required to address the underlying deficiencies in local roads.”

Copyright Press Association 2016. Motoring News articles do not reflect the RAC's views unless clearly stated.