MORE than 100 Hartlepool drivers a month are being fined for inconsiderate motoring.
The shock statistic was revealed by civic leaders as they denied claims that a controversial camera car - which could help collect more than £440,000 in fines over four years - is being scrapped.
Hartlepool Borough Council came under fire back in 2011 when the hi-tech £40,000 vehicle was launched to capture drivers illegally parked or flouting road laws.
Critics described the car as a “cash cow”, but council chiefs insisted the priority was to improve road safety and stressed that all money raked in through fines would be invested back into road safety measures.
There had been suggestions that in light of savage budget cuts being faced by the council, the vehicle was being taken off the roads as a cost-cutting measure.
But new figures show the controversial car is still generating a significant amount of money for the cash-strapped council.
In the first year on the roads, the car snared 1,848 motorists who were issued with fixed penalty notices.
That dropped to 1,574 between 2012/13, then another slight dip to 1,500 the following year.
A similar figure is expected at the end of the 2014/15 financial year, meaning the total raked in from fines since the car was launched will be more than £440,000.
The regular fine on a fixed penalty notice is £70, though that can rise if payments are late or be quashed if an appeal is successful.
Council chief executive Dave Stubbs is happy to see a drop in the figures, but says until drivers stop flouting the law there is no suggestion that the car will be taken off the road.
Mr Stubbs said: “The council has no plans to scrap its camera car.
“The vehicle plays a very important role as part of our overall efforts to improve road safety, particularly around schools.
“Road safety is a top priority for this council and since the introduction of the camera car in 2011, we have seen a decrease in the number of penalty notices issued which demonstrates that we are winning the battle against inconsiderate and illegal parking.
“The camera car enables us to monitor parking much more effectively than previously and schools in particular have welcomed it as it has improved safety for children which is paramount.
“I would love a situation where all motorists park responsibly, within the law, without compromising safety on our roads, and then we would not need the camera car.”
Hartlepool Council is one of 58 local authorites across the country which uses a camera car.