top of page
  • Writer's pictureSafer Highways

AA calls on government to ensure more police cars patrol UK roads

The AA has called on the government to ensure more police cars patrol the roads of the UK in response to the ‘plateauing’ in UK road death rates. The calls came as a BBC Panorama investigation was broadcast looking into the UK’s road safety record, which has remained more or less unchanged in the past decade.

Government data shows 1,750 people died on UK roads in 2019 – a figure that’s more or less unchanged since 2010. And although Department for Transport (DfT) estimates suggest around 1,500 people were killed on the roads in 2020, that year included four months of national coronavirus lockdown, and traffic levels across the whole year were down by about 20 percent.

With casualty statistics remaining roughly the same for around a decade, Panorama’s Freedom of Information request revealed that traffic officer numbers have fallen by 15 percent in five years, although that did only cover 34 of the UK’s 44 police forces. The Panorama investigation also linked a reduction in police officers with increased drink-driving and fewer speed checks.

And the expose found some police forces are not even replacing traffic officers with speed cameras. Of a sample of 1029 fixed speed cameras, Panorama found 523 are inactive. Some areas, including North Yorkshire, County Durham and Wiltshire have no fixed speed cameras at all. The programme also looked at the effects of smart motorways on road safety, although the government has since announced it is pausing the rollout of all-lane running on UK motorways.

Edmund King, the AA president and a contributor to the programme, said the stagnation in progress on road safety was a “scandal”, and increasingly safe cars should cause a reduction in fatalities.

“Cops in cars are essential,” he said. “We have seen a correlation between plateauing road deaths and the decline in the number of dedicated road traffic officers. If some people think they will get away with motoring offences, they will take more chances. We should reverse this decline as traffic police are needed in this national crisis with five people dying on our roads daily. This is not acceptable on any level.

“It is tragic that road deaths have plateaued over the last decade after a period of sharp decline. These deaths are totally unnecessary and should not be happening. We have safer vehicles; we should have safer roads and safer drivers. It is a scandal that five people per day die on our roads. This is totally unacceptable.

“We rightly hear much about tragic loss of life due to knife crime and yet almost eight times as many people are killed on the roads every single year than die from knife crime. We cannot continue in this way. There should be a national commitment from the Prime Minister to end this carnage.”

10 views0 comments


Recent Blog Posts


bottom of page