Nearly 50,000 drivers claimed against councils for damage caused to their vehicles by potholes in the last financial year.
The 200, out of a total of 207, local highways authorities who responded to the RAC dealt with 48,664 compensation claims in the 2013/14, up from 46,139 claims in the previous year. Councils refused the vast majority of claims, agreeing to pay out on just 23%. Successful claims totaled £3.2 million, with an average payment of £286.
Professor Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation, said: “These figures are likely to be the tip of the iceberg. Many drivers will be put off by the time involved in claiming against a council, and many councils do their best to deter claimants coming forward”
Mr Glaister placed the blame with central government for ‘simply not giving councils enough money’ to maintain road networks.
He added: “In England, local authorities themselves estimate the maintenance backlog to be about £12 billion yet over the past five years spending on roads in real terms has dropped 22% across England and Wales.
“Worn out road surfaces do not simply cause damage to vehicles they are also potentially lethal, particularly for two-wheeled road users.”