“Atrocious” drivers flagrantly flouting red lights or using their mobile phones at the wheel are breaking the law and putting lives at risk, angry motoring groups claimed today.
Motoring chiefs say a tide of red light runners and ‘amber gamblers’ speeding through the lights as they change are posing a serious risk to life and limb on some of Blackpool’s busiest roads.
Gazette reporters spent two afternoons surveying two of the resort’s busiest road junctions - and witnessed scores of drivers law breaking within the space of an hour, despite a well-publicised police campaign to clamp down on the behaviour.
Some of the more shocking instances of bad driving observed included buses running red lights, dozens of people smoking at the wheel - which experts say is distracting - and even one woman steering with a dog on her lap.
Now campaigners have called for more action.
Terry Godbert, group chairman of the Blackpool and Fylde Advanced Motorists, said: “These results are absolutely atrocious.
“The amount of red light jumpers or amber light jumpers should be zero.
“If you go to work in the morning usually at any set of traffic lights the last three cars at least are going through on stop.
“It is putting lives at risk.
“What they need to do is see the outcomes of some of these collisions caused by people running red lights.
“They need to see what can actually happen so it drives home what the consequences can be.”
Hugh Bladon, a founder member of the Alliance of British Drivers, said: “Anyone who drives through a red light is a complete nutcase, and using mobile phones is so stupid.
“People who drive around in town and have got their mobile phones on their ear deserve everything they get.
“Every set of traffic lights should have a camera attached to it because that’s the biggest crime you can commit in my view.”
The results were obtained by visiting the Oxford Square junction, in Marton, and the junction of North Park Drive and Whinpark Avenue, near Blackpool Victoria Hospital.
The Oxford Square results revealed 12 people running red lights during the space of an hour, 39 running ambers (including a school bus), 24 people smoking, 18 people on their phones and five people eating or drinking.
One woman was also observed putting on make up while behind the wheel.
At North Park Drive and Whinpark Avenue, 11 drivers ran reds during the same period of time, 33 ran ambers, nine were smoking at the wheel and six were on mobile phones.
Four people were also seen eating and drinking at the wheel.
Mr Godbert added: “As far as smoking is concerned people are distracted, you don’t have full control of the vehicle when you’re smoking.
“Regarding the woman with the dog, many years ago I had a collision with a lady and it turned out she had a little Yorkshire terrier on her lap.
“I could see her in my mirror and the dog was trying to run about.
“These are all offences and there should be penalty points given.”
A spokesperson for Lancashire Police said: “We would always encourage safe driving in a bid to reduce the number of people killed and injured on our roads. Running a red light, using a mobile phone, or people allowing themselves to be distracted can result in serious if not fatal consequences and we would always urge people to drive with care and avoid taking risks.”
Blackpool Transport was unavailable for comment.