More than 40% (185,457) of all motorway and A road closures in England last year were caused by vehicle breakdowns, with planned road works second on 14% (61,587), it has emerged.
The figures were obtained through Freedom of Information requests from leading road safety charity Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) and show that the total of 443,590 lane closures in 2014 were ascribed to 44 defined reasons by Highways England.
These incidents cost the economy around £1bn a year based on government estimates, and of the 185,457 breakdowns, 40,192 were in a live lane with other moving traffic around it.
More than 120 children walking on to the strategic road network caused closures in addition to more 12,000 (3%) closures that were caused by adults walking on the network.
Of course potholes also played their part causing 5,700 incidents that resulted in closures, and there were 567 cases of major roads being closed due to a vehicle driving on the wrong side.
The numbers of incidents are as follows:
1. Breakdown 185,457 41%
2. Planned road works (definition 1 below) 61,587 14%
3. Obstruction – other 36,042 8%
4. Road traffic collision – no injury 29,656 7%
5. Administration (definition 2 below) 23,705 5%
Sarah Sillars, IAM chief executive officer, said: ‘While we appreciate that a few breakdowns are unavoidable, such as a tyre blow out, the vast majority can be avoided or dealt with before taking a vehicle onto a key route.
‘[The data] also shows people do not treat our key economic arteries with the respect they deserve. Pedestrians, unsupervised children and objects thrown on the road should never be happening. It is clear an education and awareness campaign starting at school age is badly needed.
‘Investment in our roads would also play a big part in reducing some of those sorry statistics - having more than 5,700 pothole incidences causing road closures is not something England can be proud of.’