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Potholes bigger issue than drink-driving, finds IAM RoadSmart

Pothole in road

Potholes are perceived by motorists to be a more significant concern on the road, overtaking texting and drink-driving as a worsening problem, finds IAM RoadSmart.

IAM RoadSmart’s annual Safety Culture Report revealed that three in four motorists (75%) perceive potholes to be a bigger issue for road users, than they were three years ago.

This was followed by driver distraction (68%) – such as texting or talking on a mobile phone – and traffic congestion (65%).

Neil Greig, director of policy and research at IAM RoadSmart, said: “The pothole situation on UK roads has now become much more than just irritating, it’s a significant threat to personal safety.

“We simply can’t have vehicles swerving into oncoming traffic or slamming on their brakes without warning to avoid them. Deteriorating roads also put pedestrians and cyclists at greater risk.

“It is clearly a sign of the times when motorists perceive potholes to be a bigger growing concern to them than drink driving and texting.

“While the statistics show that the devastating impacts of using a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol or using a mobile phone when driving still remain, it does highlight that it is time for government to take potholes seriously and fix the UK’s road network.”

In 2019, potholes caused damage totalling £1.25 billion to vehicles, according to research from Kwik Fit.

RAC patrols attended almost 1,500 call-outs in the last three months of 2020 for pothole related breakdowns, despite reduced traffic volumes as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Further findings from the report revealed that around nine in ten (89%) drivers have been affected by potholes over the last year.

Meanwhile, just over one in three (31%) drivers had changed their route to avoid a pothole with more than half (54%) having had to steer away or brake hard to avoid impact and damage.

Regionally, eight in ten (81%) motorists in the South East considered potholes to be a bigger road safety issue than three years ago, compared with around six in ten in London (61%) and the North East (64%).

A study by Citroen UK revealed the best and worst maintained local roads across the country.

Deliveroo, Uber, Tesco and Ocado will help identify hot-spots for pothole repairs in a data-driven review launched by the Department for Transport (DfT).

IAM RoadSmart’s research found of those motorists who had experienced a pothole only around one in ten (12%) had enough damage to their car caused by the pothole to require a repair and around one in six (16%) had reported a pothole to the authorities. Less than one in ten (7%) made a claim for the damage.

IAM RoadSmart’s Safety Culture report tracks drivers changing attitudes to road safety issues.

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