HC Deb 16 March 1933 vol 275 cc2122-4

asked the Home Secretary the number of prosecutions and convictions, respectively, for the years 1931 and 1932 in England and Wales for offences against Section 19 of the Road Traffic Act, 1930, which provides for a limitation of time for which drivers of certain vehicles may remain continuously on duty?


No figures are available for the country as a whole, as the annual returns made by the police do not deal separately with this class of offence. In the Metropolitan Police District there were no prosecutions in the nine months of 1931 during which Section 19 was in force. In 1932, prosecutions were instituted and convictions obtained against one limited company and six individuals.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that a large number of very serious accidents, including fatal accidents, are due to the contravention of this Section of the Act of 1930, and will he take steps with a view to seeing whether the Act is complied with?


Yes; I am sure that that is kept in mind by the authorities.

70 and 71. Mr. LESLIE BOYCE

asked the Minister of Transport (1) whether he is aware of the fatal accident which occurred recently at Kilndown, Kent, in which the driver of a lorry which fell down a bank was killed; whether he is aware that the man had been at work for 54 out of 98 hours; and what measures he proposes to introduce to render more effective the provisions of Section 19 of the Road Traffic Act, 1930;

(2) whether his attention has been called to an accident at Eastriggs on 17th February, when a lorry crashed through a railway fence and was run into by a train; and whether, as the driver of the lorry had been at work continuously for a number of hours in excess of the legal maximum and in view of other such accidents, he will take steps to bring about a more strict observance of the law relating to the hours worked by motor drivers?


The two accidents to which he refers have been brought to my notice and have been the subject of special inquiries by the police. I am in communication with my right hon. Friend, the Home Secretary, in regard to these cases. As regards the provisions of Section 19 of the Road Traffic Act, 1930, relating to the hours of employment of drivers of heavy vehicles, a statement has already been made by the Government that the question of providing more effective means for the enforcement of this and other requirements of the Act is under consideration in connection with the Bill which will shortly be introduced for the better regulation and control of the transport of goods by road.


asked the Minister of Transport whether, in view of the present lack of observance of Section 19 of the Road Traffic Act by the owners and drivers of commercial motor vehicles, he will amend this Section of the Act in the proposed legislation for the better regulation and control of goods transport by road; and if he will consult with the representatives of the employers and the employe's on the whole question of the conditions under which Section 19 of the Road Traffic Act is now operating?

Lieut.-Colonel HEADLAM

I agree that Section 19 of the Road Traffic Act, 1930, is difficult of enforcement, and that its provisions, as well as certain other requirements of the Act, are frequently disregarded by the less scrupulous type of operator, particularly on the goods side of the road transport industry. As I have already stated, this aspect of the problem is under consideration in connection with the Bill which the Government propose to introduce in the near future. I am ready at any time to receive joint representations on the part of employers and employed with regard to the operation of the Section, and I understand that a conference has in fact already been arranged with certain representatives of the passenger side of the industry.


Will the hon. and gallant Gentleman in the meantime exercise stricter supervision under Section 19, in view of the fact that we find that flagrant breaches of that Section are taking place?

Lieut.-Colonel HEADLAM

I can assure the hon. Member that that supervision is being exercised at the present time.