Motorway police to get laser scanners

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Technology to help reduce the time motorways are closed after crashes is to be paid for from taxation.

The Government yesterday announced that, in a £2.7m deal, 27 police forces across England will get the 3D laser scanning technology.

It saves time by quickly making digital 3D images of entire crash sites, rather than investigators painstakingly surveying several sections of each scene.

Images can then be viewed remotely on-screen, allowing investigators to measure where vehicles were in relation to each other and examine other important evidence.

Roads Minister Mike Penning said: “There is nothing more frustrating than being stuck in a traffic jam for hours on end. But even worse than that is the shocking £1bn cost of those lost hours for our economy. That is why we are determined to improve the clear-up of accidents so we can get our motorways reopened as quickly as possible.

“Today’s £2.7m funding award will see 3D laser scanners rolled out quickly where they are needed most. This will benefit drivers by reducing incident clear-up times by 39 minutes on average.”

In 2010, there were more than 18,000 full or partial motorway closures, altogether lasting more than 20,000 hours.

Assistant Chief Constable Sean White, of the Association of Chief Police Officers, said: “We welcome enormously this important funding opportunity.

“It will make a very important contribution to properly investigating fatal and life-changing collisions while always being mindful of the level of economic and other disruption that closures of the strategic road network inevitably cause,” he said.

Police must ensure the circumstances of road collisions are fully documented before vital evidence is moved so they can present files to court prosecutors or coroners.

Subsequent delays can severely affect commuters and nearby communities when traffic is forced off a motorway.