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11 February 2010

Half Term boredom: Cracking down on killer missile crime

- 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

With half term just around the corner, motorists are being urged not to turn a blind eye to thugs who throw missiles at cars ‘for fun’ after independent research revealed that around 90 per cent of drivers don’t bother to report the incidents they see to the police.

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 of people never report what they’ve seen, despite one in four of us having fallen victim to a missile.

The company is hoping film footage from simulated tests at motor research centre MIRA which shows how catastrophic the damage is when a brick collides with a windscreen, will spur motorists on to report future incidents.

A report commissioned by the company, revealed that  81 per cent of people admitted witnessing people hurling objects in front of cars, and that  seven out of ten motorists worry when driving under a bridge with people on it.

Almost three-quarters (73%) of motorists believe 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.

A further 90 per cent  said that preventative action, such as high fencing, CCTV, educational programmes or provision of further police resources needs to be taken. However, without accurate statistics to show where the problem areas are, funds will never be appropriated correctly until a serious accident or fatality is caused. This is why Autoglass is calling for local authorities to back the campaign by asking for motorists to report incidents and then using this information to consider if installing CCTV or netting is appropriate.

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. 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.”

For more information and to watch the MIRA shock footage visit www.Autoglassnews.co.uk

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