The number of claims for compensation from motorists whose cars have been damaged by potholes on major roads has doubled in the past 12 months.
Drivers in the UK made 1,089 claims for damage caused on motorways and major A roads in 2017-18 – up from just 542 in 2016-17 and a five-year high.
Of the 2017-18 claims, 528 were successful, with Highways England – the government-owned company responsible for maintaining the nation’s motorways and major A-roads – paying out £164,341 in compensation, an average of £311.25 per driver including legal costs.
The number of successful claims in the previous financial year was 212, resulting in a total payout of £60,012, and an average sum paid of £283.07.
The figures come from a Freedom of Information request made to Highways England.
The organisation said in a statement: “Safety is our top priority.
“We set stringent standards for pothole repairs on our roads, and regularly inspect our roads to help reduce the potential for potholes to form.”
Highways England filled in 16,642 potholes in 2017-18 – up from just 3,308 in 2013-14. That’s despite road maintenance seeing a budget cut from £248.7m to £209.3m over the same period.
Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said: “These numbers show that potholes and the damage they cause are not confined to local roads but afflict our most important and, overall, best funded routes too.
“Highways England’s roads carry a third of all traffic – and two thirds of lorries – which means not only that potholes develop rapidly under the onslaught of so many vehicles but that there are only limited opportunities to repair them given that lane closures at almost any time of day are going to cause disruption to someone.
“We must ensure that we give as much attention to looking after the roads we’ve already got as we do to funding the large-scale building of new roads.”