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Orders of the Day — ROAD TRAFFIC BILL [Lords]

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 5th April 1955.

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Photo of Mr Douglas Houghton Mr Douglas Houghton , Sowerby 12:00 am, 5th April 1955

When I saw my hon. Friend take his seat upon the Front Bench below the Gangway I thought that he was up to some mischief. I do not know whether he is inviting me to talk about girl friends and other distractions inside the car, but if he is, there is no doubt—one sees these things for oneself—that drivers sometimes think that they can drive with one arm, especially when they have a pleasant use for the other. That is just as dangerous as any other monkey tricks that motorists get up to.

We are bound to deal with these matters in a rather odd assortment, because that is how they appear in the Bill. Hon. Members on both sides of the House have probably received representations from organisations of commercial travellers, expressing the fear that in the ordinary course of their work of calling upon customers they may be compelled to make use of parking meters, or parking places where meters are installed, as a consequence of which their expenses will increase.

I understood the Minister to state that such parking places would not be sited in business centres, or where he expected people to leave their cars only for a short time. I mention this point only because commercial travellers have expressed some fear about it. I understand from the Bill that local authorities will have to make proposals in relation to the siting of these parking places, and all relevant factors will no doubt be taken into account in arriving at an ultimate decision.

This is a welcome Bill, as far as it goes. It does a lot. Had it tried to do much more it probably would have achieved less. We have to legislate by instalments on this difficult matter, about which emotions are aroused and many interests are brought to bear upon our work in this House. We have to deal piecemeal with this sort of legislation. We deal with the Highway Code at one time, a Road Traffic Bill at another time, a road building and reconstruction programme at another time, and, at yet another time, the kind of roads which we shall have. It is sometimes difficult to bring all these matters together and say, "This is the grand panorama of our policy upon road transport, road safety and road construction." The Bill is an important factor in the total work, and I am sure that it will receive the favourable consideration of the House.