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LA's potholes, traffic and crashes cost drivers nearly $3,000 a year

A pothole on Aviation Boulevard near LAX. The city is working on a backlog of reimbursements for car damage because of the numerous potholes that go unfixed.
Ken Scarboro/KPCC
A pothole on Aviation Boulevard near LAX.

The potholed roads of the Los Angeles metropolitan area are costing local drivers nearly $3,000 a year, according to a new report from the national transportation research group known as TRIP.

This bad roads premium is familiar to L.A. drivers as they bear the highest costs in California for vehicle maintenance, congested roads and the costs of traffic accidents, the report finds. 

In 2014, the last year surveyed, TRIP says vehicle wear and tear, traffic and crashes cost drivers the following amounts:

  •     Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana $2,826
  •     Sacramento $2,270
  •     San Diego $1858
  •     San Francisco-Oakland $2,824
  •     San Jose $2,471

Taken by itself, the added cost of repairs and wear on vehicles have fluctuated for drivers in the Los Angeles area over the past couple years, said TRIP spokesman Rocky Moretti. Below are the LA tallies for 2012 through 2014.

  •     2014    $892  
  •     2013    $1,031
  •     2012    $955

The percentage of roads in the Los Angeles region rated poor fell to 60 percent in 2014 from 65 percent two years earlier, Moretti said.     
 "That's still a significant level of pavement distress," he said.

But as the roads take less out of drivers' wallets in repairs, they take more in the human cost of traffic congestion. Angelenos sat in traffic an average 80 hours during 2014, up from 61 hours in 2012. Translated into dollars, TRIP puts that cost to Los Angeles area drivers at $1,300 in 2014, up from $1,711 two years earlier.

Safety costs for drivers in the Los Angeles metropolitan area increased about 5 percent in 2014 over 2012, Moretti said.

TRIP is a research group funded by insurance companies, engineers, asphalt and cement companies and other groups involved in building and maintaining roads.