VICTIMS of road accidents caused by drink drivers and speeding motorists have spoken of their shock at results of a survey of Dorset motorists.
A survey conducted by Dorset County Council has revealed that one in six people admitted to getting behind the wheel when they were unsure if they were over the drink-drive limit.
Forty per cent of people surveyed also said they knew of someone who had driven after consuming too much alcohol.
Around 850 people across Dorset voluntarily completed a set of questions set by the county council, and more than half of those also said they didn’t think speeding was dangerous.
Now, victims and road safety campaigners have spoken out following the results.
Pete Bower, from Portland, suffered life-threatening injuries after he was hit by a drunk driver in 2009.
Following the crash, Mr Bower had his leg amputated and now uses an artificial limb to get around.
Talking of the results of the survey, Mr Bower said: “I find the figures quite staggering.
“Only when you have been affected by someone who is a drink driver do you realise the damage it causes.
“If they fully understood they would think twice about doing it.
“These results do surprise me, especially about the 40 per cent of people who have known people to drink and drive.
“Really and truly they should be grassing these people up or stopping them. Sometimes, people don’t want to get involved in it and turn the other cheek, but the correct thing to do is go outside and stop them.”
Angela Clarke’s son, Jonathan, was killed in 1984 after a drunk driver crashed into him.
Mrs Clarke urged people to inform the police or to stop the person driving if someone is over the limit and attempts to drive.
She said: “Having even two or three alcoholic drinks and then driving is stepping over the line so I would advise people, if they see someone drinking and then going to drive, talk to them or phone the police.
“A crash can happen anywhere. Jonathan was killed within a few hundred metres of where we live, which just goes to show it can happen anywhere, at any time of the day, at any place.”
James McLoughlin, from the road safety charity Brake, said that drink driving can devastate both victims and victims’ families.
Mr McLoughlin said: “That one in six drivers admit to getting behind the wheel after consuming alcohol is very concerning.
“We’re calling for zero tolerance on drink and drug driving from the public and the government, even small amounts of alcohol or drugs affect your ability to drive safely.
“Even with much less than the legal limit of alcohol in your system, your chances of being in a deadly crash are significantly higher, putting yourself and other road users at serious risk.
“Through our work supporting bereaved and seriously injured road crash victims, Brake bears witness to the devastation drink driving causes.”
The top five most important issues that Dorset residents think the Government should address are, in order:
1. Drink driving
3. Mobile Phone use (handheld)
4. Careless driving
5. Drug driving
Although speeding is cited as one of top issues to address, more than half of respondents did not agree that it was dangerous.
The survey suggests it is the behaviour most frequently self reported with more than half of the respondents admitting to doing the following at some point:
Driving at 40mph in a 30mph speed limit area
Exceeding the speed limit on a country road
Driving at 90mph on a motorway when there is no traffic about
Peter Finney, Dorset County Council Cabinet member for environment and economy, said: “Although this survey is only a snapshot, it’s interesting to see the discrepancy between what the Dorset public think are priorities for Government to tackle, i.e. drink-driving and speeding, and their own self-reported behaviour.
“We are very grateful to all those who took part in the survey which has given the road safety team a lot to consider for the future.”