IRRESPONSIBLE drivers are putting lives at risk by flouting road safety laws at some of Blackpool’s busiest junctions, a Gazette investigation has revealed.
The survey has unveiled a shocking number of drivers running red lights and talking on mobile phones while driving along the resort’s roads. The poll recorded the actions of motorists at Oxford Square; the corner of Talbot Road and The Promenade, in front of the resort’s town hall, and at the junction of North Park Drive and Whinpark Avenue, outside Blackpool Victoria Hospital.
Other instances of dangerous behaviour spotted included one driver overtaking a car which had pulled over to let an ambulance pass, and a man running a red light narrowly avoiding a schoolboy who had stepped out into the street.
At one junction, two Blackpool Transport buses were seen running red lights as they turned onto the main road.
And one mother, whose life was changed forever when her teenage daughter died while a passenger in a friend’s car, today described the actions of law-breakes as “
Elysia Ashworth was just 17 when she was killed after a friend lost control of the car she was driving and smashed into a tree. The woman, 19, is currently serving six months behind bars after admitting careless driving.
Elysia’s mum Maxine, of Ulverston Crescent, St Annes, told The Gazette: “Running red lights is just madness because you don’t know what’s coming the other way, that’s just a big risk.
“As a parent I’ve been massively affected by careless driving because I’ve lost my daughter as a consequence of somebody driving far too fast for the road conditions.
“To just be stupid and irresponsible is a big issue and something which needs to be looked at.
“There are far too many people skipping lights, not stopping and not looking at junctions.
“People are just driving too fast because they want to, there’s no reason for it – they just think they can.
“What sort of message are we sending to young drivers?”
LIST OF ROAD SHAME
Overall, during the three hour survey (one hour spent at each location), 49 drivers were seen running red lights, 40 were caught using mobile phones, while nearly 170 so-called “amber gamblers” were seen going through yellow lights.
Oxford Square: red lights (17), amber lights (67), mobile users (five)
Talbot Road/Prom: red lights (11), amber lights (24), mobile users (15)
North Park Drive/Whinpark Ave: red lights (21), amber lights (74), mobile users (20)
Road safety charity Brake today described the actions of dangerous drivers as playing “Russian roulette” on the resort’s roads.
Franki Hackett, the charity’s campaigns officer, said: “Brake is outraged that so many drivers are still playing Russian roulette with lives on roads.
“A moving car is a tonne of metal travelling at speed, but many drivers don’t seem to care about the danger they pose when they don’t give the rules of the road the respect they require.
“Brake is urging the Government to step up enforcement by making road safety a national policing priority, ensuring more traffic police out on roads catching offenders and deterring this foolhardy behaviour.
“And we call on all drivers to make a commitment to drive safely.”
Among those spotted running red lights were two Blackpool Transport route 2C buses as they turned right out of Whinpark Avenue onto North Park Drive.
Blackpool Transport says it is now investigating the incidents.
Bob Mason, the company’s director of delivery, said: “If drivers are reported to have gone through red lights or for that matter carried out any serious breach of the highway code, it goes without saying that we would investigate these allegations and take the appropriate action.”
Coun Fred Jackson, Blackpool council’s cabinet member with responsibility for road safety, was concerned with the results of the Gazette survey.
He said: “The disregard for the law and our communities is shocking.
“Reckless driving gambles with people’s lives and is quite frankly a lack of respect for other users on the road and their families.
“You have a responsibility as a driver to act sensibly, so please take extra care behind the wheel”
Sgt Pete Beresford, from Blackpool’s Road Policing Unit, added: “Drivers have to take individual responsibility for their actions and they know that speeding, jumping red lights, drink driving, and using their phones while behind the wheel, among other things, are all criminal offences.
“Every month we carry out Operation Pathway which is dedicated to not only enforcing the law around driving standards but to also educate motorists.
“So far this year we have seen a reduction of more than 15 per cent in the number of people who are killed or seriously injured on our roads so the message is getting through to people and standards are improving.