Road Accidents

Oral Answers to Questions — Transport – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 2nd April 1958.

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Photo of Mr Graham Page Mr Graham Page , Crosby 12:00 am, 2nd April 1958

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation to what cause he attributes the increase in casualties per road accident in 1957, as compared with 1956.

Photo of Sir Richard Nugent Sir Richard Nugent , Guildford

While there is no single or simple reason for this increase, the proportion of accidents involving more than one vehicle is increasing, and this gives rise to more casualties per accident. The increase is in line with a generally rising trend over the past 30 years, and is largely the result of the growth in motor traffic.

Photo of Mr Graham Page Mr Graham Page , Crosby

Is it not clear that the increase in casualties and in the seriousness of casualties per accident must be due to the greater speed at which traffic is travelling? What is my hon. Friend doing about it?

Photo of Sir Richard Nugent Sir Richard Nugent , Guildford

I do not necessarily agree. Although the speed is, of course, an element in the matter, my hon. Friend's deduction is not necessarily right.

Photo of Mr George Strauss Mr George Strauss , Lambeth Vauxhall

In view of the fact that accidents are increasing, as might to some extent be expected with the larger number of cars on the roads, is it not time to organise again a big nation-wide road safety campaign, as was done some few years ago, getting the co-operation of the local authorities, but doing it on a much bigger scale than local effort can manage?

Photo of Sir Richard Nugent Sir Richard Nugent , Guildford

We are undertaking our usual road safety campaign in full co-operation with the road safety authorities and our 1,200 local road safety committees, and we are now considering whether we can give an extra impetus to it.

Photo of Mr Graham Page Mr Graham Page , Crosby

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation whether, having regard to the number of road accidents attributed in 1957 to drivers making right turns without warning, he will initiate legislation making such conduct an offence, irrespective of the presence of other traffic on the road.

Photo of Mr Harold Watkinson Mr Harold Watkinson , Woking

This matter is already dealt with in the Highway Code. I do not think that the technique of safe driving can be dealt with satisfactorily by legislation.

Photo of Mr Graham Page Mr Graham Page , Crosby

It has been dealt with in the Highway Code for a long time. Is it not true that in the latest report the item "Turning right without warning" shows the greatest number of accidents? Does my right hon. Friend not have some proposal to make to prevent the increase of accidents from this cause?

Photo of Mr Harold Watkinson Mr Harold Watkinson , Woking

I sympathise with my hon. Friend, and I think that his judgment is right. I am considering whether we can do anything of this kind concerning the new motor roads.

Photo of Mr Henry Hynd Mr Henry Hynd , Accrington

Is that not already an offence of driving without due care and attention?