Be part of the solution and help make our roads safer

I am proud to live and work in a county where so many organisations and people in our communities are working hard to raise awareness and encourage people to make good choices around using our roads. To obey the speed limit. To not use a mobile phone while driving. To not drink and drive.

Be part of the solution and help make our roads safer

I have heard people say that driving offences, such as speeding and using a phone while driving, are not real crimes. But the law is very clear that they are. Further to that, conversations I have had with members of the public indicate that it is a real issue. The number of Community Speed Watch volunteers in our county demonstrates that speeding is a real issue for those who live in Dorset.

Too many drivers have an ‘other drivers are dangerous but I am not’ mentality. 80% of drivers believe they are better than the average driver. A gentle nudge, such as a letter from a Community Speed Watch stating that they were exceeding the speed limit, can sometimes be enough to encourage someone to take stock of their actions and make the behavioural change that is needed. It can act as a wakeup call and a reminder of their role in making our roads safer.

The volunteers are an example of people taking responsibility for road safety and actively taking steps to make our roads safer. The majority of road users are law abiding. Unfortunately, there are a small number who drive irresponsibly and put themselves and others at risk unnecessarily. We need the majority to be additional ‘eyes and ears’ on the road and help influence the minority.

We, the public, can be part of the solution. We can speak up when someone is taking an unnecessary risk or acting unlawfully while driving. The Speed Watch volunteers are a good example of this.

I had the privilege of speaking at the Community Speed Watch conference held by Dorset Road Safe recently. It was a great event bringing together Community Speed Watch volunteers from across Dorset and an opportunity to celebrate the positive impact they are having on Dorset roads.

Like the volunteers, we should not be afraid to speak up when someone is driving too fast or a driver is not giving the road their full attention. After all, it can take only a momentary lapse of concentration for there to be devastating consequences.

There is a lot of good work going on in Dorset to educate road users. There is something for everyone; from young children who are just starting to use roads and pavements as pedestrians, to older drivers who would like to refresh their knowledge and skills.

There are also initiatives and training offered for those who use different modes of transport such as bikes, motorbikes and agricultural vehicles and machinery.

The opportunity is there for people to take responsibility and improve their knowledge and skills to make them better road users if they want to take it.

The work that our speed watch volunteers and all of the organisations involved in Dorset Road Safe do is helping to reduce the number of collisions on our roads. And I commend everyone for the work they are doing to encourage people to take responsibility and make changes for their safety and the safety of other road users.

Martyn Underhill

This blog was featured in the October 2018 edition of the Dorset Road Safe Newsletter. Read the latest road safety news in the newsletter here >

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