GET RID OF AUTOMATION: Many drivers believe that an increased police presence and not automated policing, is the answer to curbing road deaths. You agree? Image: Shutterstock
• Top road safety measure
• Increased traffic police the answer?
• UK police dropped by 23%
LONDON, England - Road safety organisation GEM Motoring Assist is urging the UK government to reverse the decline in traffic police numbers.
The call follows a survey of GEM members, in which 94% of respondents believed road deaths would continue to rise because they did not trust the government to treat the issue as a priority.
Figures from the UK department of transport, showed that from January to September 2014, 1730 people were killed on UK roads, an increase from 1711 compared to the same period in 2013.
In South Africa, during December 1 2014 to January 5 2015, 1376 were killed, reported transport minister Dipuo Peters. Most tellingly, the UK has a population of 64.1-million compared to South Africa's 54-million.
According to the Western Cape department of transport and public works, more than 17 000 people are killed annually on SA's roads and 68 000 are seriously injured in crashes.
MORE COPS THE ANSWER?
In the UK, traffic police numbers are falling. Figures in 2015 showed a 23% drop in traffic police in England and Wales in 2013, compared to 2010, reports GEM.
In terms of traffic police, South Africa has approximately 17 000 traffic officers, a figure that's on the rise, reports Arrive Alive.
GEM asked respondents which single road-safety measure would be most effective in reducing casualties:
Properly funded traffic police service - 66%
Graduated driving licence scheme for new drivers - 18%
Reduction in the drink-drive limit - 8%
Annual eyesight test for all drivers - 5%
Only 3% of respondents believed an increase in automated enforcement (i.e speed cameras) was the single most effective answer. Additionally, only 8% trusted automated enforcement to replace physical police presence on the roads.
Nearly 80% stated there was 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.”
What single road-safety measure would be the most effective in reducing road deaths? Email usand we'll publish your thoughts.