Camera snaps in over £85k

Phil Hepburn pictured with the camera car.
Phil Hepburn pictured with the camera car.

A CAMERA car which snares rogue drivers has raked in over £85,000 in the last 10 months.

The Hartlepool Council camera car ticketed a total of 1,254 drivers who fell foul of town traffic laws from April last year to the end of January.

If each of the drivers paid the £70 fine – which can be reduced if paid early or increases if it paid late – then about £85,000 would have poured into the council’s coffers.

But this is around a third less than the previous year when 1,846 people were sent a £70 fine in the post from May 2011, when the camera car was first launched, up to March 2012.

This would have seen a whopping £129,220 collected from rule-breakers.

Council bosses say the falling figures prove the vehicle is not a money-making scheme though, and would be happy if it brought in no fines at all.

Parking services manager Phil Hepburn, who is in charge of the camera car, said: “We introduced the car predominantly for road safety and our primary aim was that we went around the 40 schools in Hartlepool.

“There was a reaction to the car when we first started using it as tickets started dropping through people’s doors, but once that had happened and people knew we were taking it seriously, the levels plateaued, or even reduced, and it shows that we are making a difference.

“However, there are still those people that are taking risks.”

Despite a drop in over all figures, some individual offences are still proving a problem for the council.

In December last year, 48 drivers were clocked parked in a bus stop, 71 were parked outside school, two on a cycle path, and three on pedestrian zig zags lines.

This is compared to December 2011, when 36 motorists stopped in a bus stop and no-one risked parking outside of a school or on zig-zag lines.

Mr Hepburn said: “Obviously there are certain times of the year when the schools are closed, which often means less tickets given out, but then each time a new school year begins there are a new set of drivers using the schools who may risk parking dangerously.

“Safety is why we do it and we’d be quite happy if we didn’t issue any tickets at all. It’s a deterrent and it can’t make money unless people contravene it.”

He also said that the money generated from rule-flouting drivers was ploughed straight back into traffic and transport related schemes and the running of the camera car.

Mr Hepburn added: “The one thing that’s happened as a result of the car is driver compliance and attitudes have changed more than with any other road safety scheme we have ever introduced.”

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