Hundreds across North Yorkshire make pothole damage claims

Motorists across North Yorkshire made claims last year.

Motorists across North Yorkshire made claims last year.

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Almost 50,000 drivers made claims against councils across Yorkshire and the rest of Britain for damage caused to their vehicles by potholes in the last financial year, according to shock new figures.

In North Yorkshire a total of 318 drivers tried to secure compensation after their cars had been damaged.

The 200 local highways authorities in England, Scotland and Wales who responded to Freedom of Information requests from the RAC Foundation said they dealt with 48,664 compensation claims in 2013/14 - an increase on the 2012/13 figure of 46,139 claims, according to the RAC Foundation.

Councils across Britain refused the majority of claims, agreeing to pay out in less than a quarter of cases, and the total value of successful claims was £3.2m. In North Yorkshire only 13.5 per cent of the claims were successful.

Nationwide the average payout for a successful claim in 2013/14 was £286, down from £357 the year before and the average administration cost of each claim - successful or not - was £147, the transport policy and research organisation said.

Professor Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation, said the figures were “likely to be the tip of the iceberg” and said councils were not given enough money for roads.

“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.

“But the fundamental problem lies not at the doors of our town halls but with central government. Despite occasional one-off grants related to periods of harsh weather, they are simply not giving councils enough money to keep their road networks up to scratch, “ he said.

Prof Glaister added: “Worn out road surfaces do not simply cause damage to vehicles they are also potentially lethal, particularly for two-wheeled road users.”