Road Accidents

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 17th April 1959.

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Photo of Mr Charles Pannell Mr Charles Pannell , Leeds West 12:00 am, 17th April 1959

I beg to second the Motion.

I was at Leeds United football ground the other week when I saw the players come out on to the field wearing black arm bands. That was because a very distinguished footballer, Jeff Hall, had died of polio. Of course, that news went through the land, and there was so much fright that people are lining up every lunchtime to have a couple of jabs to stop themselves from suffering the fate of the lamented Jeff Hall, but only 176 people died of polio last year.

Then, of course, there is anxiety about other things. We have had many debates here about Cyprus, where 400 people were killed in about four years. This House has gone into hysterics from time to time on the subject. Bigger numbers of people up and down the country have gone into hysterics over the nuclear deterrent and the possible fall-out of radioactive materials, which have not materialised at all up to now, and people march in their thousands to and from Aldermaston to pray against the fate they fear may come. I regret it. I look upon this as merely another form of mass hysteria. But these are the sorts of things which happen year after year. We see these things and we see that there is in them an element of drama which stirs people.

But we are dealing now with 5,970 people killed on our roads last year, a degree of carnage which is an absolute disgrace and shame—