Traffic Offences

Oral Answers to Questions — Transport – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 25th June 1980.

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Photo of Mr Iain Mills Mr Iain Mills , Meriden 12:00 am, 25th June 1980

asked the Minister of Transport if he will seek to introduce a new method of totting-up for traffic offences based on a points system.

Photo of Mr Norman Fowler Mr Norman Fowler Minister of State (Department for Transport)

I am sure that such a change would be widely welcomed. I am therefore, glad to say that our working group on traffic law which has been considering this issue as part of its remit has made good progress and should be able to report on it shortly.

Photo of Mr Iain Mills Mr Iain Mills , Meriden

I thank my right hon. Friend for his reply. May I ask him to look at my suggestion as a matter of priority, because there are millions of business users of motor cars to whom the present totting-up system can be unfair? Will my right hon. Friend therefor consider taking action as soon as possible?

Photo of Mr Norman Fowler Mr Norman Fowler Minister of State (Department for Transport)

I am sure that my hon. Friend is right in saying that there would be great public support for a change along the lines that he suggests, not least among professional drivers such as lorry drivers. I cannot give any guarantee on legislative time, but I should like to make as much progress as quickly as I can.

Photo of Barry Sheerman Barry Sheerman , Huddersfield East

When will the various working parties, such as that on the totting-up system, report? We hear so much from the Ministry about working parties—I could give examples of that considering motor cycles, and many other subjects—that are forever working, but never reporting. Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that we look forward to their reports, so that we can get effective action to cut down the number of deaths on the roads?

Photo of Mr Norman Fowler Mr Norman Fowler Minister of State (Department for Transport)

The Government are making much greater progress with motor cycle safety than was the case previously. I gladly take to heart what the hon. Gentleman said about the report on totting-up. I should point out that the working party was set up only a few months ago, but I hope that we shall soon have the results of its work on totting-up.

Photo of Mr Eric Cockeram Mr Eric Cockeram , Ludlow

Will my right hon. Friend accept that the present system is principally arbitrary, based as it is largely on Vascar traps and radar? Will he consider removing some of the petty and minor offences that form the totting-up procedure, thereby introducing a fairer system?

Photo of Mr Norman Fowler Mr Norman Fowler Minister of State (Department for Transport)

We want a fairer system which distinguishes between the undoubtedly serious offences such as reckless driving and the less serious offences, such as breaches of some of the construction and use regulations. Many other countries have introduced a points system which distinguishes in seriousness between various traffic offences. I believe that that would be in the interests of the travelling public and I believe that there would be great public support for it.