The big pothole count

Pothole fear tops drivers’ motoring concerns

9 September 2011

Pothole fear tops drivers’ motoring concerns

Pothole fear tops drivers’ motoring concerns

Potholes are top of AA members’ motoring concerns following three consecutive years of appalling post-winter road conditions. While the Government struggles to find a solution to the increasingly futile annual pothole blight, which resulted in 1.7m complaints to local authorities in 2010, the AA is about to launch its Big Pothole Count.

Initiating its third citizens’ audit of the condition of local roads, the AA is asking its army of Streetwatchers to go out in early October and record existing potholes, ones that have been filled in but may reappear, failed utility roadworks, uneven footpaths and potentially dangerous manhole and drain covers.

The AA’s Big Pothole count starts on 1 October and will run until the 16 October.

In a dramatic turnaround from three years ago, condition of the roads beats the cost of motoring as the top motoring concern among drivers. In July 2008, 55% of AA members listed the cost of motoring as their No 1 concern, with 11% most concerned by the state of the roads. This August, 42% list road condition as their biggest worry while cost of motoring most vexes 19% of the sample.

There is remarkable unanimity between the sexes and across the age ranges, with 18-24 year olds being only slightly less concerned about potholes at 38%. Cost of motoring, at 22%, casts more of a shadow over the driving of drivers aged 55 and older, but fear of poor roads still gives 41% - 43% of older drivers most worry.

Across the regions, the north of the country is where bad road condition particularly preys on drivers’ minds: potholes the top concern for 46% in Scotland and Yorkshire/Humberside and 45% in the North West and West Midlands. At 24%, the Scots are also most worried about the cost of motoring.

The surveys will also provide a regular benchmark of community issues in the light of large local authority budget cut backs

Edmund King, AA President

Commenting, Edmund King, AA president, said:  “It is worrying that the condition of the roads is now the number one concern for drivers. Potholes cause expensive damage to vehicles and accidents particularly for those on two wheels.

“Observations by AA Streetwatch members volunteering to give up a little of their time a couple of times a year will help us to gather local data that we can use to influence national and local government to improve the situation for all road users.  Streetwatch surveys pioneer a local community spirit to show how simple, often easily fixable, problems can tarnish an area's image.

“The surveys will also provide a regular benchmark of community issues in the light of large local authority budget cut backs – we know the Government is trying to get better value from local road maintenance spending, but we want to make sure better value doesn’t just mean an even poorer condition at street level.”

(30 September 2011)