We will keep an open mind on this until our inquiries into the M.1 accidents on 21st January are complete. But we do not think present evidence on accidents in general would justify the re-introduction of special licences for drivers of heavy goods vehicles.
Mr. Gresham Cooke:
Does my hon. Friend recall that before the war there was a licence for drivers of heavy goods vehicles of over 3 tons? Is he aware that lads of 21 are driving vehicles of up to 20 and 25 tons and it is alleged that there are some drivers who drive as much as 400 miles in 10 hours, at 40 miles an hour, in these heavy vehicles and that it is not good enough?
As my hon. Friend said, this is alleged. I do not think that there is any proof. It would be better to wait until we have the result of the inquiries into the accidents which occurred on the M.1. May I point out that drivers of heavy goods vehicles have a record of fewer accidents per mile travelled than any other class of driver?
Is the Minister aware that some of these vehicles are 60 or 70 ft. long and that such vehicles are being constricted in increasing weights? Is he aware that the driving of these vehicles calls for a different method of handling than is the case with other vehicles? Will the right hon. Gentleman give consideration to these problems so that we do not have trouble in the future?