HC Deb 26 July 1923 vol 167 cc691-2
39. Mr. W. THORNE

asked the Home Secretary if he is aware that during last year there were 13,475 accidents in the Metropolitan area in which private motor cars were concerned, which means that private motor cars figure practically in one quarter of the accidents caused by all types of vehicles; that 57,000 accidents to persons or property in the streets of the London area last year were nearly 8,000 more than in the previous year; if he will consider whether a heavier penalty should be inflicted upon reckless drivers for the first offence; and whether, in the case of reckless drivers, to protect the public and other users of the highway, a punishment should be inflicted which will prevent them from driving motor vehicles in future?

Colonel ASHLEY

I have been asked to answer this question. I would refer the hon. Member to the recommendations set out in paragraphs 115 to 119 and paragraph 213 of the Second Interim Report of the Departmental Committee on the Taxation and Regulation of Road Vehicles. I am sending him a copy of these paragraphs. Any increase in penalties such as those suggested by the Committee would require legislation. As I have already stated, I am awaiting a favourable opportunity to introduce a Roads Vehicles Bill giving effect to many of the Committee's recommendations. I do not consider, however, that the increase in accidents referred to can be attributed to increased recklessness on the part of the drivers.


Will the right hon. Gentleman advise the Government in the most energetic way to bring forward legislation next Session to carry out the recommendations which have been made; and does he not think it time that Members of this House who are fined for reckless driving time after time, should have their licences taken away from them?

Colonel ASHLEY

Anything I do officially is done with energy.


Have local authorities any power under existing Statutes to compel slow driving through their areas?

Colonel ASHLEY

I do not think that question arises, but as a matter of fact speed limits have been imposed at the instance of local authorities and have been sanctioned by the Ministry of Transport and it is the duty of the local police to see that these regulations are observed.

Lieut.-Colonel A. MURRAY

When will the Roads Bill be introduced—will it be during the Autumn Session?

Colonel ASHLEY

I hope to make an announcement on this subject next week.


Is there not a smaller number of accidents in London, in proportion to the population, than in any other great city of the world?


Is it not also the fact that it is very dangerous to walk about London at the present moment, owing to the excessive speed at which all motor cars and taxi-cabs travel; and is it intended to make the roads of this country available for express trains?