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Pothole damage reaches near epidemic proportions, say AA Pothole damage reaches near epidemic proportions, say AA

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Pothole damage reaches near epidemic proportions, say AA

Published 31st January 2011Read Time 11 min

It’s been a very poor financial start to the year for Irish motorists who are contending with escalating fuel prices and pothole damage. An AA Motor Insurance poll of more than 21,000 motorists reveals that in the region of 1 in 6 motorists have been forced to foot the bill for repair jobs and or call upon the AA as a result of pothole damage. “This is a disproportionately high number of pothole related incidents in comparison to other months, says John Farrell Director of AA Motor Insurance. “However it’s hardly surprising given the visible degradation of our road surfaces.” The AA Motor Insurance Poll also reveals that some counties are worse afflicted than others. At the upper end of the spectrum, 23% of respondents in both Wexford and Roscommon said that they have had to bring their car to the garage for repairs, call upon the AA’s breakdown services or both since the beginning of the year. Other counties to report a high number of incidents are Monaghan, Mayo, Offaly, Longford and Clare. The situation is slightly better, although far from ideal, in counties Waterford and Dublin where the lowest number of incidents were reported. 12% of motors surveyed in both these counties said they sustained damage to their car following a wallop from a pothole. “It’s important for motorists to slow down when they’re forced into a situation where they cannot avoid a pothole, says Farrell. “Tyre damage for example, unless sustained during an accident, will be viewed by your insurer as wear and tear so it’s in your interest to regulate your driving to deal with potholes.” The AA offers further advice on minimizing pothole damage on their website, www.aaireland.ie in the AA Zone. The most common pothole complaints reported during the AA Motor Insurance Poll were a warped wheel rim and punctures. Both of these faults were sustained by 55% of those respondents who said their vehicle required repairs following an unfavourable dalliance with a pothole within the last 12 months. Damage to their vehicle’s steering alignment and shock absorbers were the next most common complaints. “In most cases the damage done is relatively minor, like a puncture. The repair cost less than €100. But we have heard from people who have had to pay €2000 or more to fix damaged wheels and suspensions,” says Farrell. Ends Notes to the editor Fig. 1 (A) Last time respondents hit a pothole or a damaged road surface which necessitated a garage repair to the car and/or a call-out to the AA (Based on 21,388 responses)
Frequency % of respondents
Has happened since the start of 2011 15.7%
Between the start of September 2010 and the end of December 2010 11.7%
Between the start of June and the end of August 2010 2.1%
Between the start of January and the end of May 2010 4.6%
During 2009 5.2%
Prior to 2009 9.7%
Do not recall 12.3%
Has never occurred 38.7%
  (B) Last time respondents hit a pothole or a damaged road surface which necessitated a garage repair to the car and/or a call-out to the AA on a county by county basis. (Based on 21,388 responses)
County Since start of 2011 Between start Sept & end of Dec ‘10 Between start June & end Aug ‘10 Between start Jan & end May ‘10 During ‘09 Prior to ‘09 Number of responses
Carlow 13.9% 12.9% 2.6% 3.6% 9.3% 12.4% 194
Cavan 18.0% 17.0% 3.6% 1.5% 6.2% 12.9% 194
Clare 20.4% 15.2% 0.8% 5.2% 5.0% 10.5% 382
Cork 18.1% 13.0% 2.1% 6.7% 5.8% 7.1% 2189
Donegal 16.7% 14.8% 2.2% 4.4% 4.4% 8.5% 317
Dublin 12.0% 9.2% 1.8% 2.7% 4.0% 9.9% 7345
Galway 19.7% 14.0% 2.7% 4.8% 6.6% 8.9% 884
Kerry 18.2% 13.9% 3.1% 5.6% 5.6% 10.5% 324
Kildare 13.6% 11.4% 2.2% 5.6% 5.4% 12.7% 1287
Kilkenny 17.6% 13.3% 4.0% 7.2% 6.1% 7.6% 278
Laois 14.8% 10.9% 1.6% 3.9% 7.0% 8.6% 257
Leitrim 18.6% 9.3% 2.1% 6.2% 3.1% 9.3% 97
Limerick 14.0% 13.4% 3.4% 6.8% 6.2% 10.0% 680
Longford 20.8% 13.3% 2.5% 1.7% 3.3% 11.7% 120
Louth 18.6% 11.4% 1.1% 5.5% 8.1% 13.4% 456
Mayo 21.1% 12.3% 3.7% 7.0% 3.7% 8.9% 383
Meath 14.9% 15.5% 3.1% 5.5% 7.2% 12.0% 902
Monaghan 21.2% 18.6% 1.8% 4.4% 6.2% 8.8% 113
Offaly 18.8% 13.4% 2.0% 4.5% 4.5% 5.4% 202
Roscommon 23.4% 12.4% 1.0% 3.3% 7.2% 6.7% 209
Sligo 19.3% 8.1% 0.9% 5.4% 4.0% 11.7% 223
Tipperary 17.3% 13.7% 1.9% 7.3% 7.9% 7.9% 467
Waterford 12.3% 17.6% 2.5% 5.9% 6.4% 6.6% 438
Wexford 23.0% 13.9% 1.9% 8.5% 5.3% 6.6% 531
Wicklow 17.6% 9.9% 2.1% 5.1% 5.2% 11.5% 849
  Fig. 2 Damaged sustained to the vehicles of poll respondents within the last 12 months as a result of potholes or a damaged road surfaces. (Based on 8,133 responses)
Damaged my vehicle tyre rims 55.8%
Had a puncture 55.2%
Damaged the steering alignment 47.3%
Dented the undercarriage of my vehicle 10.0%
Damaged the shock absorbers / shock absorption system 21.8%
Damaged bodywork 7.2%
Collided with another vehicle 0.4%
Was injured 0.4%
Caused damage to property 0.4%
Caused an injury to a 3rd party 0.2%

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