Council set to get new powers to crack down on bad driving in Sunderland

Council bosses could be clamping down on dangerous and inconsiderate drivers under new powers.

A decision on adopting new legal authority to enforce 'moving traffic contraventions' is being considered by Sunderland City Council.

The Government has been updating powers allowing councils to enforce moving traffic offences, such as banned turns, contraventions in box junctions and driving in cycle lanes.

Only local authorities in London and Cardiff can issue penalty charge notices (PCNs) for these types of traffic offences at the moment. A move in Sunderland would shift enforcement away from Northumbria Police, though responsibility for speeding offences would remain with police and the Northumbria Safer Roads Initiative.

The figure for what could be the standard Sunderland PCN charge has still to be confirmed, but the council's Cabinet is due to back a decision on taking up the new legal powers at its meeting next Tuesday, November 16.

Revenue generated from moving traffic PCNs would be reinvested into Sunderland’s highways network.

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Subject to Government approvals and further consultation with transport stakeholders and residents, the council could receive the new powers by spring 2022.

The new powers would see the city council assume responsibility for enforcing moving traffic violations on Sunderland's roads

Coun Claire Rowntree is the council’s deputy leader and Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport. She said traffic enforcement was a major gripe among residents: "Every city councillor is very aware of how the vast majority of residents feel about highways users who do not follow the Highway Code.

"If the council does gain these powers it would benefit the public in understanding who has overall responsibility for enforcement of traffic contraventions. It would, too, assist the police who can concentrate on other matters.

"We could see a positive impact with reduced congestion, improvements in air quality and road safety, and we could be keeping bus and cycle lanes free from obstructions.

"Targeted enforcement at junctions and for bus lanes might improve the punctuality of bus services bringing further benefits to the travelling public."

Sunderland currently has enforcement powers on parking contraventions. The report to the Cabinet meeting outlines how enforcement could help the council identify problem locations on the highways network, and then implement and monitor appropriate restrictions to help traffic flows.

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