THE grieving widow of a motorcyclist who died last year on Gravel Hill has backed Dorset Police’s summer drink and drug drive campaign.
Suzanne Birt, 40, from Poole, said that a huge hole has been left in the family’s life since Michael’s death on October 22, 2013, leaving behind daughter, Katie, 10, and his sons, Luke, 21, and Josh, 20.
An inquest earlier this month heard that the 41-year-old was twice over the legal drink drive limit when the incident happened, as he overtook a queue of traffic and was in collision with a lorry on his way to work.
Suzanne said she wants everybody to think about how much they are drinking, including drinks from the night before, and whether they are safe to drive a car or ride a motorbike.
She added: “Obviously we have all lost someone that we loved dearly. I have lost my soul mate, my partner and best friend, my mother-in-law has lost her son, and there are three children that have lost their father.”
Dorset Police are stepping up patrols and roadside checks during the drink and drug drive campaign, which starts this Sunday, June 1, and runs until Thursday, July 31. Anyone caught drink driving will face a minimum 12-month driving ban, a criminal record, up to six months in prison and a fine of up to £5,000.
The Daily Echo will also be printing the details, which can now include a photograph, of any person convicted of a drink or drug driving-related offence.
Inspector Matt Butler of the Dorset Police Traffic Unit said that Michael’s tragic death should act as a warning to all motorists.
He added: “There will be some well-intentioned drivers who think they are obeying the law but are in fact breaking it by getting into their cars the morning after a night of drinking.”
Insp Butler said that regardless of the time of day, motorists will face the same penalties as someone who has ‘chosen to drink heavily in a pub and driven at night.’ Anyone who suspects someone of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is asked to call Dorset Police on 999, or call 101 with non-emergency information.
SCHEME TO BE EXTENDED
DORSET Police have chosen to extend their annual summer drink and drug drive campaign for the first time to include the FIFA World Cup.
The Government has given special permission for pubs to open later than normal during the World Cup, which runs from June 12, to July 13, 2014.
However, Inspector Matt Butler, says that while they want everyone in Dorset to enjoy the summer months and the football World Cup, they also want people to remain safe.
He added: “Risking people’s lives because you wanted to have a drink and then drive will simply not be tolerated.
“I have seen far too many lives lost on the roads due to drink driving. Research has shown that even one drink can impair the ability to drive so please don’t get behind the wheel after drinking any alcohol at all.”