HC Deb 15 December 1932 vol 273 cc513-4

asked the Minister of Transport what steps he is taking to ensure that young men are adopting the trade of tractor driver in sufficient numbers to guard against a future shortage, in view of the provision of the Road Traffic Act which forbids persons under the age of 21 to drive a traction engine?

Lieut.-Colonel HEADLAM

Apart from the present state of employment, I see no reason to think that there will be any difficulty in finding enough men over 21 years of age to act as drivers of tractors and traction engines.


asked the Minister of Transport if his attention has been drawn to the hardship caused to small traction-engine proprietors with sons of their own who, in consequence of the provisions of the Road Traffic Act which forbids persons under the age of 21 to drive traction engines, are obliged to hire outside labour; and whether he will consider altering this provision in the case of young men of proved capability over 17 years of age?

Lieut.-Colonel HEADLAM

The age limits for drivers of various types of motor vehicles were fully debated in Parliament when the Road Traffic Act was passing through its various stages, and it was considered not to be in the public interests that lads under 21 should be in control of traction engines. I have no reason to suppose that public opinion desires any relaxation of the existing provisions or would support legislation for the amendment of the Act on this point.


Will the hon. and gallant Gentleman get into touch with the Minister of Agriculture and see that these young men are given proper teaching, and that in the country centres they are given the same facilities as in the instructional centres in London?

Lieut.-Colonel HEAD LAM

I will certainly discuss the matter with the Minister of Agriculture.

Lieut.-Commander AGNEW

Does not the hon. and gallant Gentleman consider that driving a traction engine is in most cases a much safer occupation than driving a heavy motor vehicle, which is much faster?


That is a matter of opinion.