More than a million motorists are driving on Britain's roads with accident-damaged vehicles, new research suggests.
Many drivers don't realise their cars may be unsafe after minor shunts, while some motorists are pocketing private settlements rather than paying to have their car repaired.
According to Accident Exchange, who conducted the research, the percentage of accidents reported to the authorities fell by 2.2% and the number of recorded repairs dropped by a massive 21%. That's despite the number of accidents on Britain's roads remaining largely static.
The gap between accidents that have occurred and cars repaired leaves an estimated 1,092,000 drivers who opted not to have their vehicles repaired following an accident in the last 12 months alone.
It's thought the combination of sky-high insurance costs and tightened household budgets leaves car repairs low down the priority list.
But there is a risk that even minor prangs can compromise the structural integrity of the vehicle, or even damage unseen components such as radiators, suspension parts or airbag sensors.
With some insurers now offering excesses as high as £750, a third of motorists admit they could not afford to pay the excess in the event of an accident.