Clause 2

Part of Road Safety Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 2:30 pm on 20th January 2005.

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Photo of Mr David Jamieson Mr David Jamieson Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Transport 2:30 pm, 20th January 2005

The hon. Gentleman and the hon. Member for Christchurch used the example of someone taking a person to hospital or rushing to a member of the family who was in hospital. It is understandable that if a driver wants to help a loved one or get to them rapidly in such circumstances, his mind may leave consideration of the road for a time. That is understandable; it is human and it could happen to us all. I have taken people to hospital on a few occasions. Once it was someone who was badly injured and losing a lot of blood, and it struck me that if I was going too fast I might occasion a further accident, which would increase the need for the person to get to hospital and decrease my ability to get them there.

It is difficult, in the cold light of day, to weigh up such things in an emergency. In the example given by the hon. Member for Spelthorne, if a person is rushing to visit someone in hospital, or is in an emergency situation or rushing to a catastrophe at home, I believe that the driver would almost certainly plead guilty or be found guilty of the offence, which would give the court no discretion about issuing penalty points. However, the magistrate may then say, ''Given what you have gone through and the fact that you have penalty points, I think you have suffered enough.'' He may decide not to inflict further penalty. That is my understanding of the operation of the law. I hope that that is helpful.