asked the Minister of Transport if his attention has been drawn to those parts of the Metropolitan Police Report on London accident figures for 1951 which are critical of incompetent and careless driving; and if he will now consider bringing proposals before the House for an overhaul of all the arrangements connected with the licensing of persons to drive road vehicles, with a view to keeping off the roads those whose records or personal characteristics show them to be a danger to other persons using the roads.
Mr. J. T. Price:
asked the Minister of Transport if he has seen the statement of the London Commissioner of Police to the effect that many drivers on the road cannot drive a car competently; and if he will seek powers to strengthen the traffic laws of the country to combat the toll of road accidents.
Mr. Gurney Braithwaite:
I am aware of the Commissioner's report. It criticises pedal cyclists and pedestrians as well as drivers. There are limits to what legislation can do to prevent accidents, and, in general, I do not think that the present law as regards the driving of motor vehicles is inadequate. The courts can inflict heavy penalties on persons who drive a motor vehicle without due care and attention or without reasonable consideration for other persons using the road.
Is it not a fact that this report is of very great importance, and that nothing which has so far been done in regard to the whole problem of road safety is having any real effect? Is it not obvious that it is the drivers themselves who, very often, have to be protected against others who are incompetent and prone to accidents?
Does the Minister regard as an encouragement to road safety in London the recent decision by the London Sessions Appeals Committee, which cut from 15 years to six months a driving ban imposed upon a deaf-mute motor-cyclist for a traffic offence? Does he consider that that is the way to earn respect for the law?