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MORE than half of motorists surveyed in Dorset do not believe speeding is dangerous.

And one in six people admitted to getting behind the wheel when they were unsure whether they were over the drink-drive limit.

Around 850 people across Dorset voluntarily completed a set of questions for Dorset County Council about their own road safety behaviour.

The council wanted to find out what Dorset residents think are key road safety priorities, their perceptions of the acceptability of certain behaviours and their own self-reported behaviour.

The top five most important issues that Dorset residents think the Government should address are, in order:

1. Drink driving

2. Speeding

3. Mobile Phone use (handheld)

4. Careless driving

5. Drug driving

Although almost all respondents agreed it is unacceptable and dangerous to drive when over the legal alcohol limit, more than 40 per cent knew of people who they thought had done so.

Worryingly, one in six people admitted to have driven themselves when unsure if they were over the limit and four even admitted to driving at some time when they knew they were over the limit.

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. 

Using a hand held mobile phone whilst driving was considered the third most important road safety issue to be addressed.

A greater proportion of younger respondents aged 17-24 were more likely to admit to using a mobile phone for texting and to consider it socially acceptable than other age groups.

The survey results suggest the older and more experienced the driver, the more dangerous and socially unacceptable they consider it to be; however, half of all those questioned knew of people who had used a hand held mobile phone while they drive to make or take calls or to send or read texts.

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 in terms of how our safety campaigns should be targeted."

As an incentive to complete the online survey, there was a prize draw which was won by Pete Bull, from Bournemouth. He was picked at random from the entries and received £30 worth of vouchers to spend in Halfords.