The study, of 2,000 van drivers, owners and operators, highlighted that two thirds have had to pay for van repairs in the last 12 months as a result of pothole damage. The average cost of this damage has been £411 over the past year. However, 8% said they had to spend £1,000 or more in the past year alone repairing vans as a result of pothole damage.
It’s not surprising, then, that pothole repair tops the list of van drivers’ priorities. The full list of road policy priorities – what the van driving/owning community want to see – were:
1. Pothole repair: 60%
2. Better parking provision in town: 43%
3. Investment in bypasses to ease bottlenecks: 34%
4. Widening motorways: 24%
5. Increased traffic police presence: 19%
6. Fewer speed cameras: 17%
7. More speed cameras: 16%
8. Better training for professional drivers: 14%
9. Abandoning Smart Motorway schemes: 6%
10. More toll roads: 4%
Congestion was also highlighted as a critical issue for the new Government to address. Delivery drivers said that, on average, 15% of their working day was lost due to congestion. Based on a (conservative) eight-hour working day, this equates to an hour and 12 minutes every day, or six hours a week, lost to congestion. Rates were similarly high amongst tradespeople and service engineers (12% and 13% respectively), while fleet managers estimated that 14% of their workforce’s time was lost as a result of congestion.
Despite its well-established Congestion Zone, lost time as a result of congestion was most pronounced in Greater London, where 16% of a working day was claimed to be lost to congestion.
However, the real cost of congestion was made clear by the 61% of respondents who said that they – or the company they work for – had lost business or customers as a direct result of congestion. This figure peaked at 82% in Greater London and 66% in the West Midlands, while 75% of delivery divers said they had lost business as a result of congestion.
“With almost 4.2 million van drivers on our roads – around one in ten of all vehicles on our highways – the voice of this important group of motorists needs to be heard,” Steve Bridge, the Managing Director of Mercedes-Benz Vans, said.
“Our research clearly highlights that potholes and congestion actually cost these hard-working business men and women serious amounts of money, both in repair bills and time lost, which isn’t acceptable. We are urging van drivers therefore, to report any potholes they come across to the local council. While it may seem time-consuming, there are a number of ways to do this online and via apps to help alert to and ultimately fix the issue.
“If hitting a pothole is unavoidable, drivers of Mercedes-Benz vans can have their vehicles checked over by booking into one of our nationwide dealer workshops and having a free, no-obligation Visual Health Check by a Mercedes-Benz trained technicianction. This means that problems can be spotted before they become a serious issue, to reduce unexpected downtime and repair bills.”