Police use drones to record drivers' bad behaviour in UK first

Devon and Cornwall Police is using drones to record motorists' driving in a bid to promote road safety.

Devon & Cornwall Police are using drones to spot dangerous motorists. (SWNS)
Devon & Cornwall Police are using drones to spot dangerous motorists. (SWNS)

A police force is using drones to record motorists' poor driving in the first time the machines have been used for road safety.

Devon & Cornwall Police's drone unit has linked up with its roads policing team in order to track dangerous drivers.

The force says the drones can track vehicles' speeds on dangerous stretches of road as well as being able to video incidents - catching any dangerous driving on camera.

Officers will also be able to check the MOT, tax and insurance status of any vehicle - allowing stolen bikes and dangerous drivers to be tracked down and potentially even arrested on the spot.

Top down aerial view of houses and streets in a residential area UK New Build Estate Agent House Prices 2022
The drones will be able to monitor people's driving and check if cars are taxed or MOT'd. (Stock image: Getty)

Chief Inspector Ben Asprey, Head of Roads Policing at Devon & Cornwall Police, said: "Sadly last year was a terrible year for serious and fatal collisions involving motorcyclists.

"In 2022, 16 motorcyclists were killed on Devon and Cornwall’s roads – the highest figure in the past five years. A further 187 were also left seriously injured.

"Despite motorcyclists making up less than 1% of overall traffic, they account for roughly a third of all serious and fatal collisions in our area.

"But it’s important to remember that these aren’t just numbers, these are people’s loved ones – parents, sons, daughters, friends and partners – and we are determined to drive those numbers down."

He said many of the serious collisions had not involved any other road users, meaning "inappropriate riding and motorcyclist error" were major factors.

The force is running the project in partnership with 'Vision Zero South West' - a project between government agencies trying to cut the number of road deaths and injuries in to zero.

Their new fleet of drones for the project are able to operate in changing weather conditions, as well as varying temperatures.

Inspector Colin Harper, from Devon & Cornwall Police’s Drone team, added: "This innovative use of drones will give us early warning of any offences and allow us to be far more targeted in our approach on the ground.

“We will be deploying this technology on roads where we know motorbikes are travelling too fast, and also around dates and locations where motorcycle events are scheduled to take place.

“This technology can and will be used to help detect speeding and dangerous driving in all vehicles on our roads.

"At present, our focus is on motorcyclists who are at highest-risk according to our data, particularly at this time of year when more riders will be venturing out again after the winter."