Potholes and congestion top concerns for fleet owners
Damage caused by potholes is the number one problem for fleet owners, new research has revealed.
Almost half (46%) of the 500 fleet company bosses surveyed by RAC Business listed pothole damage as their main concern. Another 43% said that congestion on their local road network presented a challenge to their business.
Meanwhile, one in five (20%) said they were concerned about the prospect of a wider economic slowdown.
A similar percentage, 19%, cited poor reliability of company vehicles as a concern, while restrictions caused by congestion charges and low-emission zones were named as a problem by 17%.
Commenting on the findings, the RAC said it has seen a steady increase over the past 10 to 15 years in the number of call-outs to business customers' vehicles suffering damage due to neglected road surfaces.
For instance, damaged suspension springs are often associated with potholes, and the motoring organisation has seen a 16% increase in such incidents among fleet vehicle customers, from 1,249 in 2014 to 1,455 in 2015.
Jenny Powley, sales director for Corporate Business at RAC Business, said: "Potholes can be a real headache, not just for drivers, but for the business owners that have to foot the bill for the repairs. The time spent off the road due to the damage caused by potholes can amount to hundreds of pounds a day in lost productivity.
"It's concerning to see the number of pothole-related breakdowns rising at a time when the Government has committed to investing in maintenance and improving road infrastructure.
"Despite the fact that local authorities increased their spending in 2015 to try to catch up with some of the road maintenance and repair backlog, this data suggests that there is still some way to go.
"The last couple of winters haven't seen particularly freezing temperatures, which can be a major cause of potholes. But the reality is due to the limited resources available it seems it's not been possible to take advantage of that respite and keep up with the demand."