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The research report

Autoglass® commissioned independent research company BMG to carry out extensive desk research and a motorist survey to highlight the actual and perceived safety threat to motorists caused by stones or other objects being thrown from bridges onto car windscreens.

The desk research examined available literature on the issue, qualitative interviews with police and other relevant agencies to discover their views on the extent and seriousness of the problem.

The motorist survey was conducted online between 13-30 November 2009, among a sample of 1,891 motorists with samples spread across all age ranges and geographic locations.

Research Headlines

  • 81% of motorists have seen people throwing objects into the road over the last five years
  • 33% of those have seen people throwing objects into the road over the last 5 years five or more time
  • 22% - almost a quarter of those questioned - had suffered from a missile hitting their vehicle, with motorists in Scotland and Wales showing higher than average percentages (29% and 24% respectively)
  • The East of England showed the least number of drivers having been hit (14%), unsurprising given that the area has fewer motorways and A roads traversing it than many other areas of the country. The South West showed the next lowest number of drivers having been hit, with 17%
  • 89% of those people didn't report it to the police (94% of men compared to 85% of women)
  • Only 27% of drivers do not worry at all about driving under a bridge when people are standing on it
  • 73% say the maximum penalty should be higher if casualties are caused by throwing objects at vehicles - with 54% saying only imprisonment or detention the most appropriate action if casualties are caused
  • 94% said that some form of preventative action needs to be taken (i.e. fencing/CCTV/funding educational programmes/providing police with more resources)
  • 43% said youngsters throw objects because they don't understand the consequences of their actions


Other report highlights:

  • From anecdotal evidence, it can be seen that Surrey, with three major motorways, the M3, the M23 and the M25, as well as several major A roads has suffered a higher number of reported incidents than most. The M3 seems particularly vulnerable to these incidents
  • Lancashire too is criss-crossed with motorways, from the M65 in the north to the M56 in the south, with the M6 also passing through the area and there have been incidents reported on all of these roads in 2009
  • Incidents tend to be in areas in or around major conurbations and research for this report revealed high numbers of incidents on roads around Bristol, Birmingham, Chelmsford, Manchester and Nottingham
  • The research also revealed that a while a fatality on a particular road may deter youngsters from throwing stones on that particular road in the months following the incident, it does not deter them from throwing stones in other parts of the area, as evidenced by South Wales Police, where John Wells died. 


Click here to view the full research report (PDF - 1.4Mb)


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