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Potholes: Damage to cars at 5-year high, says AA Report

A new partnership has been launched today (15 January) between road users and industry to help tackle the scourge of potholes as shock new figures from the AA show pothole damage to vehicles has hit a five year high.

The research – released on National Pothole Day – shows that the AA dealt with 631,852 pothole related incidents in 2023, the highest for five years.

Now the newly-formed Pothole Partnership has unveiled a new five-point plan to help tackle the issue. The coalition represents the interests of drivers, motorcyclists, cyclists, pedestrians, and road repairers. The Partnership’s Pothole pledge is being sent to central and local government today.

Pothole Partnership (AA, JCB, British Cycling, National Motorcyclists Council) – National Pothole Day 15th January 2024

  • New Pothole Partnership formed with 5-point plan
  • AA Pothole Index shows 2023 worst for 5 years for car damage
  • Damage to vehicles estimated at almost half a billion pounds
  • Cyclists & motorcyclists most at risk of injury
  • Cutting edge technology can help smooth the road ahead

The Pothole Partnership has been formed by the AA, the National Motorcyclists Council, British Cycling, IAM RoadSmart, the British Motorcyclists Federation and manufacturer JCB.

Last year pothole damage to vehicles cost a staggering £474,000,000, according to new figures* released by the Pothole Partnership on National Pothole Day.

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Such is the widespread concern over potholes that a new Pothole Partnership of road users (drivers, motorcycle riders and cyclists) and repairers has been formed to press the case for more effective permanent repairs.

The AA dealt with 632k incidents in 2023 of tyre, wheel, steering, and suspension damaged by potholes which if rounded up on a national scale represents a staggering 2m vehicles affected by poor road maintenance. This is an increase of 16.39% when compared to 2022 (543k). As most new cars don’t come with a spare tyre as standard, pothole punctures are costing drivers more time and money.

Last month (62k) saw an increase of 15.2% when compared to December 2022 (54k).

Edmund King, AA President, said: “Last year AA patrols dealt with more than 600,000 pothole-related incidents which on a national scale will have cost drivers almost half a billion pounds.

“Currently, we often have a vicious circle of: pothole formed; damage caused; pothole patched; pothole reappears with more damage caused – when what we need are more permanent repairs.

“Potholes are the number one concern for 96% of drivers and can be fatal for those on two wheels so hopefully pressure from the Pothole Partnership will lead to permanent repairs.”


Craig Carey-Clinch, Executive Director, National Motorcyclists Council, said: “The situation is becoming ever more acute for motorcyclists. Potholes and other road surface related defects are already shown to be extremely dangerous for motorcycle riders.

“The same pothole that damages a car, could prove fatal to a rider. Action is needed now to urgently clear the backlog of repairs.

“The NMC fully supports the Pothole Partnership and urges the Government to front load the £8.3billion that has been announced. The problem is now, not in seven or nine years time.”

Caroline Julian, External Affairs Director, British Cycling, said: “We know from our members that potholes are a longstanding frustration and concern.

“They have tragic and fatal consequences that cannot be ignored. If we’re serious about fulfilling our ambitions to get more people cycling, we simply must ensure that our roads are safe and comfortable for them to ride on, and not the crater-filled carriageways they currently face.”

Ben Rawding, General Manager, JCB, said: “As we mark National Pothole Day, JCB is delighted to be part of the Pothole Partnership, a group committed to fixing Britain’s roads. Tackling the national backlog of potholes properly will involve investment in innovation and new technologies to ensure permanent fixes, not temporary repairs. Britain’s motorists, motorcyclists and cyclists deserve nothing less.”

*AA estimated repair costs:

  • Tyre – £100
  • Alloy – £300
  • Realignment – £150
  • ADAS (sensor) recalibration – £150

The average cost is £250

£250 x 631,852 AA incidents equals 157,963,000 (rounded to 158m x 3 to represent all drivers) equals £474m

** AA Yonder on-line poll from October 6-10, 2023, of 11,678 drivers.


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