‘More drivers jumping lights’

A COUNCILLOR axed from Hartlepool Borough Council’s cabinet is calling on Mayor Stuart Drummond to take up a campaign to tackle drivers who jump red lights.

Councillor Pam Hargreaves says it is a growing problem in Hartlepool, and was working towards a Red Means Stop campaign when she was sacked from the cabinet.

Coun Hargreaves, who was in charge of transport on the council, told how she was involved in a near miss at a busy town junction.

The Owton ward Labour councillor is now calling for Mayor Drummond, who has taken on transport issues following the reshuffle, to pick up where she left off.

Coun Hargreaves said: “There can’t be many people in Hartlepool who haven’t noticed the ever increasing number of drivers running red lights, particularly at our busiest junctions.

“This irresponsible behaviour is putting the lives of other motorists, as well as pedestrians, at serious risk and it is vital that we act now to prevent a major accident and even fatalities from happening.

“We had been working on this since January, and I am calling on Mayor Drummond to not let politics get in the way of what is really important – the safety of the public.

“This campaign should be launched now with no further delay.”

Coun Hargreaves says the York Road junctions with Victoria Road and Park Road are particular hotspots for light jumpers.

And last month she was involved in a near miss at the junction of Duke Street and Hart Lane when she was driving.

Coun Hargreaves said: “We only missed each other by a second or so.

“I just do not know what goes through a person’s mind taking such a stupid risk because for the majority of people – red means stop.

“It’s only a matter of time before there is a serious accident or a pedestrian gets run down.”

Coun Hargreaves also wants the council to lobby the Government so it can be allowed to use its camera car, which catches illegal parkers, to help clamp down on the issue.

Mayor Drummond said the issue was first looked at five or six years ago but legislation meant the council could not legally enforce action against drivers.

He has agreed to look again at the issue to see if the legislation has changed and to see if the council could put cameras on traffic lights in a bid to prevent the problem.

Mayor Drummond said: “I would be very keen to go down that route if it is available to us.

“I think Pam is absolutely right because the amount of people that jump red lights around town is frightening.

“Part of the reason is that there is no recourse but if we can introduce something that is a deterrent then it makes the roads and the junctions that much safer.”