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IAM RoadSmart joins New National Partnership to Tackle Pothole Epidemic.

Press release -

IAM RoadSmart joins New National Partnership to Tackle Pothole Epidemic.

* New Pothole Partnership formed with 5-point plan

* AA Pothole Index shows 2023 worst for 5 years for vehicle damage

* Damage to vehicles estimated at almost half a billion pounds

* Motorcyclists and Cyclists most at risk of injury

A new partnership has been launched today (15 January) between road user organisations and the road repairs industry to help tackle the scourge of potholes, as shocking new figures from the AA show pothole damage to vehicles has hit a five-year high. The Pothole Partnership has been formed by the AA, the National Motorcyclists Council, British Cycling, IAM RoadSmart, the British Motorcyclists Federation, and manufacturer JCB. The partnership has been formed to press the case for more effective and permanent road repairs.

New research, released on National Pothole Day, shows that the AA dealt with 631,852 pothole-related incidents in 2023, the highest for five years. Last year, pothole damage to vehicles cost a staggering £474,000,000, according to new AA figures.

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 governments today.

The AA dealt with 632,000 incidents in 2023 of tyres, wheels, steering, and suspension damaged by potholes, which, if rounded up on a national scale, represents a staggering 2 million vehicles affected by poor road maintenance. This is an increase of 16.39% when compared to 2022 (543,000).

In August 2023, the Local Government Association revealed that spending on non-motorway road maintenance had halved since 2006. A 2018 analysis by the AA revealed that in 2017, 545 vehicles were involved in injury crashes where the road surface was a contributing factor. Nearly half of those vehicles (45 percent) were bicycles or motorcycles.

The Partnership has welcomed extra funding for maintenance, including the £8.3bn from HS2, but wants it ring-fenced and expenditure increased in the early years and used more effectively. It is often a false economy to just patch potholes when a stretch of road actually needs resurfacing.

Craig Carey-Clinch, Executive Director of the National Motorcyclists Council, said: “The situation is becoming ever more acute for motorcyclists, and the issue is a top-ranking concern among riders. 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. The pothole hazard is heightened if potholes fill with water in poor weather or if they are encountered at night. Action is needed now to urgently clear the backlog of repairs. The NMC fully supports the Pothole Partnership and urges the government to frontload the £8.3 billion that has been announced. The problem is now, not in seven or nine years.”

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.”

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.”

The Pothole Five-Point Plan

Permanent: local authorities to limit the practice of temporary pothole repairs or patches and, where possible, every pothole or patch to be repaired permanently.

Precise: All local authorities and contractors must adhere to UK-wide repair and inspection standards and report annually on the repairs undertaken.

Price: The government should demonstrate greater urgency by accelerating and increasing spending of the £8.3 billion pothole funding for England in the first three years, with total clarity on the distribution to local authorities.

Provision: The central and local governments must guarantee the ringfencing of all road maintenance funding to help deliver innovations that enable permanent repairs.

Progress: Full transparency from local authorities on their road repair backlog, categorised by potholes, patching works, and road resurfacing.

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About IAM RoadSmart

IAM RoadSmart is the UK’s largest road safety charity. It has a vision of a society where all road users can safely and sustainably use the public highways together. It does this through a range of means including through the advanced driving and riding tests. IAM RoadSmart was formed in March 1956 and has over 75,000 members that supports its campaigns on road safety. At any one time there are over 7,000 drivers and riders actively engaged with IAM RoadSmart’s courses.

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