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Don't throw it all away

Hidden killer crime revealed: Menacing missiles cause death on the motorway

  • One in four motorists have suffered from a missile hitting their vehicle
  • 81% of motorists have seen people throwing objects into the road during the last five years
  • 89% of motorists haven't reported incidents they've seen to police

Motorists are being urged to stop motorway madness by reporting the thugs who throw missiles at cars 'for fun', after alarming independent research has revealed a hidden menace that could be risking hundreds of lives every year.

Autoglass® is calling for motorists to act responsibly and report the youngsters who hurl objects at vehicles to the police, after research shows a staggering 89 per cent never report what they've seen, despite one in four of us suffering from this potentially fatal craze.

But Autoglass® is hoping film footage from new testing at MIRA (formerly the Motor Industry Research Association), showing just how catastrophic the damage is when a brick collides with the windscreen of a typical family car, will in the future encourage motorists to call the police.


A new report, commissioned by Autoglass®, highlights how the police are keen to downplay the issue saying it is 'not a problem', but a motorist survey exposes this 'hidden' crime, with 81 per cent admitting witnessing people hurling objects in front of vehicles suggesting the problem is vastly more widespread than officers realise. The research also shows there is no central records facility and there is a lack of consistency across police forces about how this information is logged, which is why Autoglass® is asking police to record these crimes separately.

Seven out of ten motorists worry when driving under a bridge with people on it but drivers are very clear about what should be done to those found responsible for causing casualties in this way, with almost three-quarters (73%) saying the maximum penalty should be higher than the existing seven years imprisonment and/or a fine, with 54 per cent agreeing that imprisonment or detention is the only appropriate action if casualties are caused.

In excess of 90 per cent (94%) said that some form of preventative action needs to be taken (i.e. high fencing/CCTV/funding educational programmes or providing police with more resources) but without accurate statistics to show where the problem areas are, funds will never be appropriated correctly until a serious accident or fatality is caused to bring it to light. This is why Autoglass® is calling for local authorities to back the campaign asking for motorists to report incidents and then using this information to consider if installing CCTV or netting is appropriate.

David Brown, senior technical advisor with the Highways Agency, explains:

"In the last few years, there has been a considerable number of incidents involving people throwing objects at traffic.  This type of vandalism is particularly dangerous and potentially can result in a serious road traffic accident.  It is a crime that has no set pattern and is usually attributed to young children who have 'nothing better to do' and find this activity 'exciting'.

Adrian Walsh, director of Roadsafe, said:

"This eye opening report shows that much more needs to be done by parents and schools to educate youngsters. The Highways Agency already has a schools programme in place but ideally this should be extended and more needs to be done by local authorities and motorists should report incidents to the Police."

Nigel Doggett, managing director of Autoglass®, said:

"We fix thousands of windscreens every day and so we see first-hand the consequences of the actions of these mindless yobs, which is why we commissioned the report to find out exactly how much of a problem this is. Images from the MIRA testing bring home, only too graphically, just how serious this potentially fatal vandalism can be when you're in a vehicle travelling at motorway speeds.

"Parents can also help reduce this risk by talking to their youngsters about these activities and making them aware of how serious the consequences can be.

"However, the main way to reduce and uncover these hidden crimes is for drivers to report all incidents to the police and for them to record these accurately and act on them - together this will save lives."

View the 'shocking' video footage.


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