Councils are paying out more in pothole compensation claims than they are spending on fixing the cracks in Britains roads.
As a result, council leaders are calling for legislation to fight what they see as a compensation culture created by no-win, no-fee lawyers.
Councils argue that the 53 million paid out to motorists in compensation last year could have been better spent repairing an extra 946,429 potholes.
According to the Local Government Association, which represents more than 400 councils in England and Wales, staff also spent 40,801 days dealing with the claims, or the equivalent of 111 years.
David Sparks, chairman of the Local Government Associations Transport and Regeneration Board, said: 'Getting people safely from A to B is at the top of every councils agenda. These figures show the extent to which our efforts are being hampered by the compensation culture that exists nowadays.
'Theres a real fear that no-win, no-fee lawyers are clogging up the system with spurious claims from people just chancing their arm. Tightening the law would help put a stop to this.'