Would you pay more taxes to have pothole-free roads?
A study has show two-in-five drivers would pay for smooth travel.
New research has revealed that UK drivers are spending an average of almost £230 a year on repairing damage caused by potholes – and that two in five are now so fed up they would be willing to pay more taxes or a toll for the luxury of driving on smooth roads.
Research, commissioned by Green Flag, found that British drivers encounter an average of seven potholes per trip.
More than half of motorists (56 per cent) say their cars have been damaged by potholes, with a third (36 per cent) claiming they have suffered tyre damage and one in six (17 per cent) saying their suspension was affected.
Nine in 10 drivers (91 per cent) wish their council would do more to address the problem of potholes in their region.
Although the Department of Transport recently announced it would commit £201 million to tackle road maintenance, it falls far short of the £9.79 billion it has been estimated it would cost to restore roads to good condition.
In fact, the pothole epidemic is frustrating drivers to such an extent that, in a poll of 2,000 drivers, two fifths (40 per cent) said they would be willing to pay more car tax or a toll in return for pothole-free roads, while more than a quarter (27 per cent) would be willing to add up to five miles to their journey in order to avoid a road with potholes.
Motorist Sue Trickett, aged 67, of Kidsgrove, said: “I would be willing to pay more tax, but only if it was guaranteed that it would be spent on the roads.
“The state of the roads is diabolical. There is a really big pothole across Mount Road in Kidsgrove and there is going to be a crash there before long.”
Gillian Adams, aged 72, of Werrington, said: “I would pay more road tax. The state of the roads is disgraceful. It’s bad enough on the car parks.”
But Paul Bateman, aged 69, of Leek, said: “I probably wouldn’t pay more tax. I might be cynical, but there’s no guarantee that the money would go towards the roads and fixing the potholes. Where I live in Leek there have been some roads that have been potholed for three years.”
Cyclist Steve Mitchell was injured last year after he hit a pothole covered in surface water.
The 48-year-old, of Westlands, said: “Given the state the roads are in, no matter how they get, councils are always on the back foot and it’s a reactive process.
“The potholes are not the main problem, it’s the fact that the carriageways are so poorly maintained. There are no proper repairs done to the potholes, it’s always a quick fix.
“I don’t think more paying more in taxes would solve the problem.”
Jenny Thompson, aged 36, from Tunstall, said: “I think we pay enough taxes as it is. We already pay road tax, what is that for if not maintaining and repairing the roads? I think it is something that councils should be fixing anyway without getting more money from taxpayers.”
Road tax was actually abolished in 1937 and replaced with vehicle excise duty. Since then road maintenance has been funded out of general taxation, of which VED is a part.
The 2019 Annual Local Authority Road Maintenance (ALARM) report, which surveys local authorities about the state of their roads and funding, estimates it would cost £9.79 billion to restore all UK roads.
ALARM says the cost of dealing with compensation claims for damaged cars added up to £26.7 million.
Yet despite the increased risk of vehicle damage on the roads, Green Flag says that half of all drivers do not know how to change a tyre.
Green Flag spokesman Simon Henrick said: “The problem of potholes on UK roads means there is an increased risk of car damage. With this in mind, it is important to stay safe when driving and to regularly check your vehicle and tyres for damage.
“Our research found that only a third of drivers know how to check their tyres for damage, and only 49 per cent know how to change a tyre, so Green Flag is doing all we can to ensure drivers know how to carry out basic safety checks and simple maintenance.”