Drivers having to dodge death on Britain's roads every five hours

bridge bombersDrivers are having to dodge death on Britain's roads every five hours because bridge bombers are dropping lumps of concrete and bricks on to five vehicles a day.

Police records handed to the Sunday Express show that hundreds of motorists escaped being killed by inches last year.

Victims and road safety experts last night demanded the Government launch a campaign to catch the yobs before there are truly tragic consequences.

The calls came just a day after student Callum Jackson, 23, narrowly escaped being hit by a concrete lump the size of a rugby ball which was dropped from a bridge near Telford, Shropshire.

He said last night: "The spineless people who do this know people will get hurt or die."

Although warning signs are now being tested at bridges repeatedly used by the bombers in Suffolk and Essex, campaigners say far more needs to be done.

Victims want wire netting to be hung below bridges to catch dropped missiles – as they are on the Continent – and CCTV cameras to catch the yobs in the act.

The RAC Foundation last night urged the police to make the issue a priority and called for courts to hand out stiffer sentences as a deterrent.

Callum was doing 60mph on the A442 when the block fell from a bridge, smashing his truck's windscreen and landing on his passenger seat.

He was able to pull over and dial 999, but the offenders escaped.

Mr Jackson, an agricultural college student from Worcester, said last night: "It is attempted murder. The police told me this would have been a fatal incident if the block had fallen slightly to the right or if there had been a passenger.

"I thought about what would have happened if my girlfriend had been in the car with me."

Two weeks ago a brick was thrown at a van on the M1 in Leicestershire, forcing the driver to swerve to avoid a catastrophic pile-up.

Both cases followed last December's near-fatal incident on the A12 in Essex involving grandmother Carol Manley, 57.

She suffered broken ribs, a broken nose, fractured eye socket, shattered teeth and internal injuries when a bucket-shaped missile smashed through the windscreen and landed on her in the passenger seat as her husband Steve was driving.

The grandmother, who is epileptic, has undergone reconstructive surgery on her face and will need months of dental surgery.

She still struggles to wash her face without bruising it. A mother and daughter escaped unhurt in a similar incident on the same road just 40 minutes earlier.

As a result, a total of 70 yellow warning signs have been placed at problem bridges on the A12 and A14 in Suffolk since January.

The Highways Agency signs tell drivers to call 999 if they see anything suspicious and a numbered location to give to the emergency services.

A Freedom of Information request by windscreen repairer Autoglass to 10 police forces across Britain revealed 395 reports of objects being hurled at vehicles last year.

This works out at an average of 39 incidents per constabulary, or more than 1,670 across the 43 force areas in England and Wales.

Across the country this equates to almost five incidents a day.

Still shocked by his brush with death, Callum said: "I know I will never feel safe driving under a bridge again."

Professor Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation, said: "It is impractical to fence off the hundreds of thousands of miles of UK roads.

"These thugs will only be stopped by good policing, driver vigilance and stiffer sentences.

"This is not a petty crime but serious criminality with potentially fatal results."

A Highways Agency spokesman said: "The safety of road users is the top priority for us."

The agency is monitoring the effectiveness of the new bridge signs in Essex and Suffolk. Early results look promising and the scheme could yet be rolled out across Britain.

The Association of Chief Police Officers said missiles being hurled at vehicles should be dealt with "on a force-by-force basis".

Joe says: Cameras on the bridges with rigorous enforcement is required

Read 6429 times Last modified on Sunday, 03 April 2016 14:03
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