Easter holiday motorists have been urged to shop vandals who hurl missiles at cars after almost a quarter of drivers quizzed in a survey (22%) said their vehicles had been hit.
The poll, commissioned by Autoglass, also found that 81% had seen people throwing objects into the road during the last five years but 89% have not reported incidents to the police.
The company warned that there could be an upsurge of attacks over the holiday period as more motorists take to the roads and bored youngsters have more time on their hands.
Matthew Mycock, managing director of Autoglass, believes greater efforts should be made both in schools and in the home to educate children on road safety and eradicate the menace.
He said: “Autoglass repairs thousands of windscreens each day and our technicians witness the severity of the physical and mental damage caused by these mindless attacks first hand.”
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% agreeing that imprisonment or detention is the only appropriate action if casualties are caused.
A further 90% 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, according to Autoglass.
The company, which dealt with 15 incidents of windscreens being shattered by missile-throwing thugs last year, 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.