New figures out today from the AA have prompted the car insurer to slam the UK’s roads as a ‘national embarrassment’ as millions of motorists face hefty bills for car repairs caused by the dangerous defects on the highways.
Insurers estimate £4.2 million worth of claims have made so far this year to cover the damage caused by what is being described by the AA as a ‘pothole epidemic’.
According to the figures there have been three times as many claims caused by the hazardous blemishes on Britain’s roads in the first four months of 2018 than there were in the previous year.
And it has also prompted a huge upsurge in the number of call-outs for AA Patrols as they respond to breakdowns caused by pothole incidents.
Janet Connor, the AA’s director of insurance, pointed out that in the majority of cases potholes caused minor problems such as a ruined tyre or damaged wheel rim.
In these instances she said motorists tended not to make claims since it would lead to the loss of their excess or no claims bonus.
However, it meant that claims insurers such as the AA were seeing were much worse. Drivers hitting potholes were suffering ruined suspension, damage to steering and the underbody of cars and broken axles.
In other cases drivers had been knocked off course and hit other vehicles, kerbs or lamp posts, the AA revealed.
Connor added: “The pothole epidemic is nothing short of a national disgrace. According to the AA’s research, nine out of ten (88%) of drivers say roads are in a worse state now than 10 years ago.
“Even the Secretary of State for Transport who, in March announced £100 million fund to be sunk into road repairs, admitted we haven’t spent enough on the country’s roads since the 1980s.
“That fund is welcome but no-where near enough. Local budgets have been squeezed to the extent that competing priorities mean they don’t have the resources to keep their roads up to scratch – hence the £9 billion that is estimated to be needed as a one-off investment to restore Britain’s roads.
“Our nation’s highways have become a national embarrassment.”
The AA has now launched the #FlagitFunditFillit campaign to try and highlight to the Government the need to invest in the roads. Members of the public can help by ‘flagging’ up potholes to the council by taking pictures and sending them to the relevant authority via social media.
It wants the Government to ‘fund it’ by ring fencing 2p per litre of current fuel duty to create a pothole fund. With that money the councils can then ‘fill’ the potholes, said the AA.