DETROIT (WWJ) – As snow and ice begin to thaw and crumbling roadways emerge, a new study from AAA reveals that pothole damage has cost U.S. drivers $15 billion in vehicle repairs over the last five years, or approximately $3 billion annually.
With two-thirds of Americans concerned about potholes on local roadways, AAA is urging state and local governments to fully fund and prioritize road maintenance to reduce vehicle damage, repair costs and driver frustration.
“On average, American drivers report paying $300 to repair pothole-related vehicle damage,” Susan Hiltz, AAA Michigan Public Affairs Director, said in a statement. “Adding to the financial frustration, those whose vehicles incurred this type of damage had it happen frequently, with an average of three times in the last five years.”
Congress increased transportation funding in 2015 to help pay for road repair, but as much as $170 billion in additional funding is needed per year to significantly improve America’s roads and bridges, according to AAA.
Additional survey findings:
• 15 percent of U.S. drivers (16 million motorists) report sustaining vehicle damage that requires repair as a result of hitting a pothole at least once in the last five years
• More than half of drivers with household incomes of less than $75,000 annually are “very concerned” about potholes
• Only one‐third of drivers with household incomes of $75,000 or more annually report the same level of concern
Every year, AAA responds to more than four million calls for flat tire assistance, many the result of damage caused by potholes. Spare tires, an important feature missing from one-third of 2015 model year vehicles sold, are critical for drivers affected by pothole damage. Tire inflator kits have replaced the spare tire in millions of vehicles over the last 10 model years but due to their limited functionality, they cannot provide even a temporary fix for pothole damage. AAA has called on automakers to put consumer interests first and halt the elimination of spare tires in new models.
Pointers for Avoiding the Pitfalls of Potholes:
• Keep tires properly inflated
• Maintain adequate tire depth
• To avoid striking a pothole, remain alert, scan the road ahead and drive at least 3-4 seconds behind the vehicle ahead
• If a pothole strike is inevitable, slow down, release the brakes and straighten steering before making contact with the pothole
• Check to see if your vehicle is equipped with a spare tire or a tire inflator kit. Ensure the spare tire is properly inflated before trouble strikes