An MP today warned national transport chiefs against complacency over safety on the busiest – and fastest - road through South Tyneside.
As the Gazette’s Safe A19 campaign gathered momentum, Grahame Morris demanded urgent action to curb accidents on the busy highway.
He spoke out as the number of people calling for improvements to the 70mph dual carriageway and a government inquiry, through our Change.org petition, topped 800.
His latest intervention also came in response to the Department for Transport (DfT) confirming only two points between South Tyneside and Teesside are seeing major improvements.
Safe 19 was sparked by figures which show 71 people were injured in 36 crashes involving 88 vehicles on the 35-mile stretch from Testos roundabout in South Tyneside to Wolviston last year.
Mr Morris, Labour MP for Easington, who has been lobbying Parliament for change, said: “The Department for Transport should not be complacent. It is not good enough to say Britain has the safest roads in the world when the evidence shows there is an accident almost every day of the year on the A19. Urgent action is needed to make it safer.”
In a statement to the Gazette, the DfT said Britain has some of the safest roads in the world but insisted it was determined to do more.
A spokesperson added: “We are currently working on upgrades to the A19 at the Testos and Downhill Lane junctions, and since 2011 Highways England has delivered safety improvements at ten locations on the A19.”
As well as safety issues Mr Morris says the A19 is vital to the economy of the North East and its upgrade would boost the economy.
He added: “I want the government to add substance to their Northern Powerhouse rhetoric by investing in our region to improve and make safer our road infrastructure and specifically the A19 as a major economic contributor for the region.
“I am asking the government to investigate and carry out an urgent review into the causes of accidents on the A19 and to bring forward recommendations to improve road safety.
“Behind every accident there is a human cost, which is further compounded when serious and fatal accidents occur.”
We also want it to introduce measures to cut collisions and delays.
Mr Morris has asked people to tweet the DfTvia @transportgovuk using the hashtags #A19 #RoadSafety #InvestInTheNorth and #SafeA19 to press for a review.
The petition can be signed via https://goo.gl/ubdhzF.