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According to a survey carried out by the Automobile Association (AA), 62 per cent of Irish road users have had damage caused to their vehicle by a pothole. That may not seem surprising, given that potholes have long been a fact of life on Irish roads, but it is a very high figure, and encompasses all road users - including motorbikes and bicycles, as well as cars.
Of those who had suffered damage, 58 per cent reported a burst tyre, with 41 per cent saying that a wheel had been damaged too. Almost a fifth, 18.1 per cent, said that they had suffered suspension damage.
"Potholes have long been a significant annoyance for road users in Ireland and there is some evidence that the issue has been worse this years, in part due to the extreme weather conditions seen during the winter and spring. In the immediate aftermath of the snow and Storm Emma, we received a notable increase in breakdown callouts relating to potholes and while efforts to repair affected roads are ongoing, there is still a great deal of work to be done," Conor Faughnan, AA Director of Consumer Affairs stated. "To be fair to the government they have made a sizeable amount of money available to assist with road repairs, but much of this work was delayed as a result of the snow we experienced almost up to Easter. The advice to road users, particularly to motorists, is to slow down when driving on a road which shows signs of being poorly maintained so as to minimise the damage if you do strike a pothole."
Fewer than one per cent of those who'd suffered damage received any form of compensation, with just 0.63 per cent saying that they'd had any coverage of costs by a local authority. Only 0.31 per cent reported it to their insurance provider, so the vast majority of people are covering this damage out of their own pockets.
"Unfortunately, even though you are not at fault, making a claim against your car insurance to cover pothole damage can impact on your no-claims bonus, while many people either don't know they can pursue the local council for compensation meaning they opt to cover the damage themselves as it's simply cheaper or more convenient," Faughnan added "In previous years a lack of budget was identified as a significant factor in preventing necessary road repairs, but that excuse doesn't hold up any more in light of previous government commitments. Ultimately, it's becoming increasingly important that councils across Ireland make road repairs a priority, not just to prevent pothole damage but also to help make our roads safer."