A senior traffic officer has expressed his “disgust” at drivers who filmed the aftermath of a serious crash on their mobile phones.
Officers from the Cleveland and Durham Specialist Operations Unit (CDSOU) were called to the collision involving five vehicles on the A19 at around 6.50am last Friday.
A man remains in hospital in a critical condition following the collision and a 54-year-old woman remains in hospital in a stable condition.
Police have since issued a fixed penalty to one driver who was stopped by officers nearby and will issue warning letters to another have been identified to another 11 drivers for not paying attention to the road ahead of them and concentrating on the collision.
Inspector Harry Simpson, from the CDSOU, said: “I am appalled and disgusted at some of the drivers who thought it was appropriate at the scene of a serious collision to film what was happening as they drove past on the opposite side of the carriageway.
“A man was critically injured in the collision, and he remains critically ill in hospital today.
"I dread to think what effect this would have had on his family had they seen any footage of this crash prior to us being able to contact them to pass on the distressing news of the collision.
“In cases like this it is not always easy to identify an injured person in a vehicle and inform their next of kin.
"Whilst the modern day use of social media means everything is immediate, I would hate to think that a family would identify a car that would show that their loved one has been seriously injured or killed through social media.
“Some drivers actions added to the congestion on the roads network by slowing down to an almost walking pace to have a look. Officers had to leave the scene to go onto the opposite carriageway to keep traffic flowing at a reasonable speed.
"The impact on people’s business and day to day routines can be extreme, but this is compounded by people slowing down to see what’s going on. It has a concertina effect in that one car slowing causes all the people behind to slow.
“I do not expect that whilst we are dealing with a collision that we would have other motorists risking their lives on the other side of the carriageway by not concentrating on the road ahead of them. Not only is it illegal but their voyeuristic actions could have caused another serious collision.”
The incident took place on the northbound carriageway, near the Leven viaduct, between the A67 Yarm and A174 Redcar turn-offs.