Members of breakdown organisation GEM Motoring Assist are urging the government to reverse the decline in traffic police numbers.
The call follows a new survey of GEM members, in which 94% of respondents believed road casualty numbers would continue to rise, because they did not trust the government to treat the issue as a priority.
The most recent figures from the Department for Transport show that in the year ending September 2014, 1,730 people were killed on UK roads, a rise from 1,711 the previous year. Figures released earlier this year showed a 23% fall in traffic police numbers in England and Wales in 2013, compared with 2010.
Asked which single road safety measure would be most effective in reducing casualties, 66% chose a properly funded traffic police service, compared with 18% who opted for a graduated driving licence scheme for new drivers, 8% who suggested a reduction in the drink-drive limit and 5% who called for annual eyesight testing for all drivers.
Only 3% of respondents believed an increase in automatic enforcement was the single most effective answer. Additionally, just 8% said we could rely on automated enforcement to replace the physical police presence on our roads.
Nearly 80% of members accept there is a link between visible road policing enforcement and an increase in road casualties, while nearly 90% admit to being either ‘slightly concerned’ (25%) or ‘very concerned’ (64%) at the reduction in roads policing.
GEM chief executive David Williams, said: “It’s highly unlikely that anyone will establish a precise provable link between the decline in traffic police numbers and the increase in casualties. But as long as roads policing resources are allowed to dwindle, we can expect casualty numbers to rise further. This is an unacceptable situation, which we believe should be dealt with as a top government priority, right now.”