In the wrong hands, a vehicle can be just as lethal as a firearm

There are yearly and seasonal fluctuations in the numbers of people killed and seriously injured on our roads, and sadly we have seen a recent spate of collisions resulting in fatalities in Dorset.

In the wrong hands, a vehicle can be just as lethal as a firearm

Since the beginning of the year, 15 people have lost their lives on Dorset roads with 308 being seriously injured. This time last year there were 20 fatal casualties and 336 serious casualties.

Dorset Police invests significant resources into policing our roads and officers and staff work hard to catch offenders who break the law. Teams visit schools to educate young people on road safety and dedicated officers and special constables within our No Excuse team target those who flout the law. The team has also recently launched ‘Operation Dragoon’ which specifically targets the most prolific offenders in the county.

Nevertheless, speeding, drink/drug driving, careless driving, using a mobile phone at the wheel and not wearing a seatbelt are still the five main causes of fatal road traffic collisions. All of these are preventable and all down to poor driver behaviour and decision making.

Since the beginning of the year, Dorset Police have issued a total of 47,367 prosecution letters, including 652 for using a mobile phone at the wheel and made 704 arrests covering the fatal five. The recent change in legislation for drug driving has made it easier to catch and convict these offenders with 46 people being charged with drug driving related offences since January. Following the change in legislation, the PCC, Martyn Underhill, made funding available for Dorset officers to be issued with drug driving test kits.

But education and enforcement are only part of the picture. They do not provide an alternative to the principle that drivers of all vehicles have a fundamental responsibility to behave with due care and attention, to drive safely and ensure they do not put themselves or others in danger. Being issued with a driving licence when you pass your test permits you to drive a vehicle but it also places these responsibilities on all road users. Police officers cannot be everywhere and the responsibility to drive safely is not dependent on the risk of being caught offending. A licence to drive is not the same as a licence to own a firearm but it can be just as lethal in the wrong hands.

Colin Pipe
Acting Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner 

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