AA president Edmund King OBE has called for more ‘cops in cars’ as progress tackling death rates on UK roads has plateaued over the last decade.
The motoring organisation pointed to a Freedom of Information request by BBC Panorama, answered by 26 out of 44 police forces, which revealed that almost half of their fixed speed cameras were not working.
Wiltshire Police said it had no fixed or mobile cameras but relied on handheld devices.
Mr King, who contributed to a hard-hitting BBC Panorama programme that aired on Monday night, described it as a scandal and totally unacceptable and that five people per day die on British roads.
He said: ‘We cannot continue in this way. There should be a national commitment from the prime minister down to end this carnage.
'Speed cameras are effective in reducing speeding but are only one part of the armoury and do nothing to deter drink, drugged and other forms of dangerous driving.
‘We need a concerted effort to reduce road deaths and often basic measures like more road markings or improved junctions can help. But ultimately, we need five-star drivers, in five-star cars, on five-star roads, with five-star enforcement and five-star political commitment to reduce road deaths.’
The AA said that in response to another FOI request by Panorama 34 forces said they employed 4,257 dedicated traffic officers down 15% from 5,014 five years ago
Mr King said: ‘This leads to the conclusion that cops in cars are essential. We have seen a correlation between plateauing road deaths and the decline in the number of dedicated road traffic officers. If some people think they will get away with motoring offences, they will take more chances.’
The Panorama programme also included the A82, described as the most dangerous road in Scotland, where progress on planned safety improvements has been slow.