Kwik Fit PIT Report 2023: Pothole Damage Costs British Drivers £1.7bn

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Kwik Fit
Published on
April 11, 2023

Annual cost of repairs to British drivers totaled £1.7bn, according to Kwik Fit’s PIT Report 2023. The report, which stands for Pothole Impact Tracker, shows that nearly 2.7 million cars have been forced off the road due to pothole damage in the last 12 months. Of the 13.1 million drivers that suffered damage to their car after hitting a pothole, one in five had to do without their vehicle for more than a week while it was undergoing repairs.

The report also found that 57% of British drivers have hit at least one pothole a week over the last 12 months, with the impact causing damage to over 13 million cars. The average repair bill faced by each driver was £127, resulting in a total cost to the nation’s motorists of £1.7bn.

Kwik Fit first carried out its study into the cost of repairing pothole damage in 2013, and the company’s research shows that since then, the total burden on British motorists has more than doubled, rising by 121%. This is despite the number of cars on the nation’s roads increasing by only 10% over the same period.

The increased costs are reflective of motorists’ responses when asked about the condition of the nation’s roads. More than half of all drivers (51%) say the condition of the roads in their area are worse than ten years ago, with 39% saying they are significantly worse. Only one in eight (13%) say the roads are in better condition than a decade ago.

Nearly half of all drivers (47%) think that a portion of the money the government raises through fuel duty and vehicle excise duty (commonly called ‘road tax’) should be ringfenced for improving road surfaces. However, with today’s ALARM (Annual Local Authority Road Maintenance) report revealing that local authorities need more than £14bn to fix the backlog of carriageway repairs, the challenge for the government is clear. Only one in ten drivers (10%) say they would be prepared to pay more fuel or excise duty for direct spending on road surfaces. A similar small minority (10%) would be happy to pay more council tax if it was ringfenced for roads in their local area.

Inflation has driven the cost of individual repairs up over the last decade, with some drivers being hit especially hard. Although £127 was the average figure over the last year, many drivers had to pay much more than that, with 850,000 drivers having to stump up over £300 to get their car back on the road.

The repair bills faced by older drivers were a little higher than the average figure, with those over 55 typically paying £140, compared to £123 by drivers under 34, possibly a reflection of the older drivers owning more cars that are more expensive to repair. However, despite their lower average repair bill, younger drivers were hit relatively harder than older motorists as almost a quarter (24%) say they had to borrow money to pay for the repairs. This contrasts starkly with those over 55, of whom only 3% had to borrow the cash.

Despite potholes having such an impact on many motorists, less than one in three drivers (30%) have complained to their local council about a pothole, although among those suffering severe damage to their car, such as to their engine, this rises to 75%.

Kwik Fit’s Communications Director, Roger Griggs, says it's important for drivers to report problem potholes, even if they don’t think they have damaged their car. “We know councils have huge demands on their budgets, but it is better that they are aware of a pothole as early as possible,” he said.

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