Public support is growing for our campaign calling on the Government to improve road safety on one of South Tyneside’s main road links.
We have launched a petition via Change.org to gather as many names as possible and show the strength of feeling about the driving conditions and accident figures on the A19.
Figures of fatal, serious and slight injury accidents last year are still being calculated and confirmed, but initial statistics show that - between Testo’s Roundabout at Boldon and the Wolviston interchange - there were about 36 collisions involving 88 vehicles, causing 71 injuries, with six of those smashes classed as serious.
Figures for 2015 show there were three deaths, 41 serious crashes and 275 slight, with six of the serious collisions on the section between Boldon and Seaham.
There have been about 300 collisions along the full stretch of the A19 each year going back to 2011.
Our petition aims to show the strength of feeling about the issue from across the region.
It reads: “The people of the North East, backed by the Sunderland Echo, Shields Gazette and Hartlepool Mail, call on the Government to carry out an inquiry into safety on the A19.
“Last year alone, there were more than 70 people injured as a result of crashes on the stretch between Wolviston and Boldon alone. This is too many collisions and it simply cannot go on.
“Added to the danger to drivers and passengers, the problems are bringing the North East and its economy to a halt – more must be done to get us moving forward.
“With the backing of North East MPs, including Easington MP Grahame Morris, we want the Department for Transport to look at this issue and take action to protect our region and its people for generations to come.”
Shields Gazette managing editor Gavin Foster said: “We are urging readers to join our fight and sign this petition to improve what is a shocking safety record and to enable the economic growth of our area.
“The Government needs to act now and your voice can force that change.”
Nicola Langley, of Seaham, backs our campaign.
She said: “I use this road everyday to get to work in jarrow and am frequently stuck in slow moving or standstill traffic, not always because of an accident. The slip roads seem to cause the most bother with people frequently ignoring the fact they have to give way and often forcing cars to slow down or try to move over to let them in.
Julie Blenkinsopp, 0f South Hetton, Sunderland, said: “My husband and daughter use this stretch of road daily in their commute to Nissan and I really fear for their safety.
“Colleagues at work are often late too having been delayed on A19 due to collisions.”
The petition can be found by searching A19 on Change.org or via: https://goo.gl/ubdhzF