Motorists get u-turn message at accident blackspot that claimed life of driving instructor

The A19 south slip road and A179 junction
The A19 south slip road and A179 junction

MOTORISTS appear to have got the message when it comes to performing u-turns at an accident blackspot which claimed the life of a driving instructor.

Officers from Durham Police have confirmed that since legislation was introduced in October last year making it illegal to perform u-turns on the A179 Hart Bypass as it meets the B1280 road, on the outskirts of Hartlepool, no-one has been reprimanded for flouting the rule.

The information was provided to the Mail following a Freedom of Information request to the force.

A police spokeswoman said: “Since October last year Durham Constabulary has not issued any penalty notices, fines, or cautions for performing U-turns at the location.”

U-turns were outlawed by Durham County Council on the blackspot about six months after the death of driving instructor Colin Brown, 60, from Hartlepool, in May last year.

It is believed he was performing a U-turn when his Citroen C4 collided with a minibus on the B1280 just yards from the Hart bypass.

The county council said the action was prompted by a series of accidents in the area and say more changes to the junction may be needed in the future.

Construction of a traffic island has also started to prevent drivers doing U-turns.

In July, 85-year-old Joan Coulson, from Durham, was killed when the car she was a passenger in collided with a black Mitsubishi Warrior on the A179.

Then a short time later a three-car smash happened near the A19 northbound turnoff which saw a man taken to hospital with spinal injuries.

Just days after Mr Brown died and several bus passengers were injured, the Hartlepool Mail snapped many other drivers carrying out the same risky manoeuvre.

In the space of just an hour, our photographer witnessed at least a dozen motorists using the left-hand slip lane to come off the A19 northbound to beat queuing traffic in the right-hand lane for Hartlepool.

Drivers were pulling off the slip road as if travelling to Wingate before just a few yards up the road making a u-turn to head towards Hartlepool.

Ged O’Hare, chairman of Hartlepool Advanced Motorists, said: “Doing u-turns is not worth taking the risk.”