Ever Increasing Circles: Why Britain’s Pothole Crisis Is Getting Worse

Mon 15th Oct 2018

A new report from the RAC has revealed that drivers are 2.5 times more likely to suffer a breakdown due to a pothole than they were 12 years ago.

The Pothole Index, which is one of the UK’s most respected sources on the state of the UK’s road network shows that the state of the roads has got worse since the same period last year. After the third quarter of 2017 the index score for the UK was 2.38, and after the last quarter of this year the score was 2.63. The record high index score came in Q1 2010 when motorists were 3.5 times more likely suffer a pothole breakdown than they were in 2006.

The RAC report that they dealt with 14,220 pothole related breakdown in the past 12 months, representing 1.5% of their call-out rate. The company’s chief engineer David Bizley has issued a stark warning saying the roads could get even worse: “There is little doubt local road conditions in many parts of the country are substandard and have been so for quite some time. Data from this quarter’s RAC Pothole Index supports this showing there has been a steady deterioration in road condition over the last 18 months with the latest quarter not showing a significant improvement. We cannot simply blame Storm Emma and the Beast from the East, even though they certainly made matters worse.

“This is consistent both with motorists’ views from this year’s RAC Report on Motoring research and the annual independent study carried out by the Asphalt Industry Alliance (AIA) which shows the backlog in terms of road repairs and maintenance continues to grow. The AIA also found that around 20% of local roads are in ‘poor structural condition’, which means they have five years of life or less remaining.”