Drivers ‘risking lives’ by ignoring signs in Sunderland city centre

Colin Jarvis
Colin Jarvis
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DRIVERS ignoring road signs in Sunderland city centre are putting pedestrians in danger, says a salon owner.

Hairdresser Colin Jarvis said he has watched motorists disobey a “right turn only” sign outside his business in High Street West.

Traffic travelling north up Fawcett Street is prohibited from turning left into High Street West.

But the businessman says many still do, even as people are trying to use a pedestrian crossing.

Now he is calling on drivers to take more care and for Sunderland City Council to step in.

He said: “You can turn right down High Street West if you are coming down Bridge Street.

“But when the crossing lights are on green, drivers are coming through from Fawcett Street and turning left.

“I was very nearly knocked down by a taxi. I put my hands out, but he kept on going.

“I probably see about a dozen a day. I spoke to a traffic warden about it and they said someone would have to be killed before anything was done.

“I rang the police and they said they would get back to me.

“I worry for the old people crossing when drivers go whizzing round that corner.” Colin, who has worked in High Street West for 11 years, wants to see the light sequence on the pedestrian crossing changed to reflect cars turning left.

But the city council said it is drivers – and not the lights – that need to change.

Councillor leader Paul Watson said: “This is a signalised junction with a prohibition on left turn movements from Fawcett Street.

“Turning left into Union Street is an offence which the police can take action on.

“When there is a green light on Fawcett Street, the pedestrian crossing on Union Street is also green and there should be no vehicles present.

“This junction complies with recognised guidelines and there are many other similar junctions in Sunderland and across the country.

“Notwithstanding the illegal behaviour of drivers, the council monitors information about all the city’s junctions and notes these observations.

“We always strive to design out and lower the risk of accidents as best we can under given legal and economic constraints.”