The Metropolitan Police are due to become the first force in the UK to use drones to monitor road-users. They claim they’ll be used to focus on dangerous drivers…
A First For The UK
Whilst police have considered all sorts of novel methods for catching dangerous drivers, including cardboard police cars, this will be the first time drones have been deployed. The unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) will focus on drivers engaged in dangerous behaviours; including racing. As a result, it’ll prioritise motorists who pose a danger to other road-users; as opposed to those speeding. Once a suspect is identified information will be relayed to officers on the ground, who will then be able to intervene.
The Met has emphasised that the drones will act as much as a deterrence as a means to catch offenders. However, it refused to state whether they’ll be rolled out across the country if they’re successful. The head of the Met’s roads and traffic policing unit, Det Supt Andy Cox, explained the use of UAVs. He said, “this is one of many enforcement tactics being used. Its aim is to deter dangerous driving and we hope the message of ‘drive lawfully, stay safe and keep a clean licence’ is widely understood.” He added, “however, deterrence is sometimes best achieved through intense enforcement and that’s what this capability enables.”
The Dangers of London’s Roads
There’s little doubt that the rising number of road incidents in London have prompted the use of UAVs. More than 60 people have been killed on the capital’s roads this year alone; with 8 fatalities over the previous week. Sadiq Khan, London’s Mayor, has produced an ambitious ‘Vision Zero’ initiative that seeks to reduce road fatalities to zero by 2041. UAVs, it seems, will potentially play a role in realising that target. Fitted with advanced technology like night vision, they’ll certainly be equipped with an impressive range of capabilities.
Whilst drones are new to the UK’s police forces, they have been used in neighbouring countries and with some success. French authorities have used them to catch out dangerous drivers; including racers and tailgaters. In Bordeaux, police have been known to catch as many as 20 offenders per hour; issuing them with on-the-spot fines and penalties. But, as with most new technologies, UAVs are not without their flaws. For a start, they’re expensive and still possess limited ranges and charges. Whilst capable of high altitudes, there are also concerns they can cause distractions. More cynical motorists will also see their deployment as a subtle step towards stricter driving conditions and, quite possibly, a further violation of their privacy. What do you think?
Number Of British Drivers Pursued For Foreign Offences Is ‘Surging’ – http://autoserve.co.uk/motoring-news/british-drivers-foreign-offences-surging/
Police Warning: Posting Holidays On Social Media Puts You At Risk – https://www.autoserveclub.co.uk/blog/police-warning-posting-holidays-social-media/