Clause 22 - Breach of requirements as to control of vehicle, mobile telephones etc.

Part of Road Safety Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 11:15 am on 27th January 2005.

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Photo of John Thurso John Thurso Shadow Secretary of State for Transport, Shadow Spokesperson (Culture, Media and Sport), Shadow Spokesperson (Scotland), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Transport), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Culture, Media and Sport), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Scotland) 11:15 am, 27th January 2005

I was minded not to support the amendment until I listened to the Minister. She has persuaded me of the opposite case. Rather than adding clarity to what I thought was a clear situation, obfuscation has crept in. She said that it would be quite wrong sitting at a red traffic light. On the A9 at Berriedale late last year, thanks to the good offices of my friend the Transport Minister in the Scottish Executive, some excellent roadworks were undertaken. However, that meant that one sat for 15 to 20 minutes, particularly late at night, waiting for the vehicles to go up and down. We all knew that and were all happy with it, because we knew the good results that we would get. Frankly, when there was a red light we all switched our engines off to conserve fuel, which is very expensive in the north, and might well have made a telephone call. That is a circumstance that is in direct contravention to the one that she put forward.

I would have thought that since the purpose of the legislation is to stop people driving inattentively, and hitting things while they are moving, if the engine is switched off that cannot happen and therefore the amendment might have some use after all.