§ 12.5 p.m.
§ Lieut.-Colonel MOORE-BRABAZON
I beg to move, in page 27, line 34, to leave out from "cars," to "if," in line 37.
This Amendment raises a simple question. It refers to an anomaly with regard to the speed limits on heavy vehicles. As the Minister knows, if a heavy motor-car chassis has a motor omnibus body put upon it, whereby it can carry up to 70 people, it is allowed to go at 30 miles an hour, whereas identically the same chassis, without an omnibus body and not carrying those people, would only be allowed to go at 20 miles an hour. It is not necessary to elaborate the absurdity of that position. It seems ridiculous that when a vehicle is carrying 70 people it should be allowed to go at 30 miles an hour and only allowed to go at 20 miles an hour when it is not carrying that load of people.
§ 12.6 p.m.
§ Captain STRICKLAND
I beg to second the Amendment.
It must be obvious that if there are two vehicles travelling on the road together both of exactly equal unladen weight and with exactly equal capacity as to direction and driving, and one is allowed to travel at 20 miles an hour while the other is allowed to travel at 30 miles an hour, that there is an anomaly as between the two cases. The raising of the limit for these vehicles from 20 to 30 miles would have the effect of preventing 1470 crowding on our roads. A vehicle travelling at 30 miles an hour must overtake and pass a vehicle of exactly the same type which is travelling only at 20 miles an hour and I think it would be wise to provide that as both are of the same weight they should be allowed to travel at the same pace.
§ 12.7 p.m.
My hon. and gallant Friend has raised an interesting point and there may well be an anomaly somewhere but I am sure he realises that this actual Amendment goes far beyond any case of that description because it would give a maximum speed of 30 miles an hour to all classes of heavy motor cars irrespective of their unladen weight, their laden weight, their age or their equipment. Whatever case there might be for any alteration in respect of some of the most modern types of heavy goods vehicles—and representations have been made to me in that respect—I do not think my hon. and gallant Friend would like to see all heavy motor vehicles going at 30 miles an hour. My hon. and gallant Friend has spoken to us on this matter from his great knowledge of the manufacturing side of the industry, but I would ask him to east his mind back to the previous occasions in these Debates when he has spoken from his equally great knowledge as a road user. I am sure that in his capacity of a road user, the last thing he would like to see would be heavy vehicles up to 9 or 10 tons dead weight hurtling along the roads at 30 miles an hour. I would remind the House that the speed limit which we are now discussing is a speed limit imposed under the Act of 1930, and that under that Act I have power to vary this schedule of speed limits by regulations which, of course, would have to be submitted to the House. I promise to keep an eye on the development of the modern type of commercial vehicle and not to impose on them any further restriction than I believe to be necessary in the interests of public safety.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ 12.10 p.m.
§ Captain STRICKLAND
I beg to move, in page 28, line 19, at the end, to insert "otherwise than as aforesaid."
It will be noticed that on the Order Paper there are several Amendments in my name to this Schedule. The effective 1471 Amendment is that which comes next on the Paper and which proposes to insert following paragraphs:if the trailer is attached to the drawing vehicle by partial superimposition in such manner as to cause a substantial part of the weight to be borne by the drawing vehicle—The other Amendments are consequential. The object of these Amendments is to permit the light articulated vehicle on pneumatic tyres to travel at 30 miles an hour instead of 20 miles an hour, as proposed in the Schedule. There seems to be some doubt in the minds of some hon. Members who are, perhaps, not intimately connected with road transport as to what is an articulated vehicle. It is entirely distinct from that type of vehicle which draws a trailer behind it. These light articulated vehicles are manufactured for the purpose of enabling loads to be easily controlled and turned without the necessity of negotiating a trailer following upon the engine part of the vehicle. The articulated vehicle consists of a cab in front which contains the motor part and, super-imposed on that cab, the vehicle which carries the goods. Goods cannot be carried in the motor part and the goods-carrying part cannot be used apart from the motor.
- (a) in the case of motor cars if all the wheels of the drawing vehicle and the trailer are fitted with pneumatic tyres;
- (b) in the case of motor cars if all the wheels of the drawing vehicle and the trailer are not fitted with pneumatic tyres but are fitted with soft or elastic tyres;
- (c) in all cases of heavy motor cars if all the wheels of the vehicle and the trailer are fitted with pneumatic tyres or soft or elastic tyres;
- (d) in any other case."
These light vehicles are in considerable use for lighter loads. They are not vehicles which form a great encumbrance on the roads like some of the heavier vehicles. Yet you can have a non-articulated vehicle travelling at 30 miles an hour whereas an articulated vehicle of the same unladen weight comes under the restriction of 20 miles an hour. Under these Amendments a higher speed would be permitted only in the case of the light articulated vehicle, that is a motor car weighing not more than 2½ tons unladen, with a trailer attached so that the substantial part of the weight is borne by the drawing vehicle. These vehicles are easily controlled and can be 1472 driven with greater safety than the non-articulated trailer drawing vehicle. A further proposal in the Amendment is that the higher speed of 30 miles an hour should be permitted only in the case of vehicles of this lighter class which are fitted with pneumatic tyres. The provision in paragraph 2 (a) of the Schedule would still apply to light vehicles fitted with solid rubber tyres.
I cannot help feeling that the case of the articulated vehicle has not received the careful attention which it deserves. This type of vehicle offers the possibility of contracting the length of load on the road. They are wonderful, little "nippy" vehicles, taking light loads about the country under perfect control and perfectly safe. They are, I think, safer than the trailer non-articulated vehicles which can at the present time be driven at 30 miles an hour. I ask the Minister to give his attention to this point. These articulated vehicles are a modern outcome of manufacturing skill in this country, they serve a most useful purpose and they ought to encouraged.
The Minister just now said that in an Amendment which was proposed sufficient differentiation was not made between a light load and a heavy one. The case I am bringing forward is that of light loads not exceeding 2½ tons complete unladen weight, and I suggest that this is a case in which the Minister might very well make a concession, either here or, after consideration, in another place. I urge upon him the necessity of dealing with this matter.
§ 12.16 p.m.
I am not sure that I fully understood my hon. and gallant Friend's point, and perhaps he will take the opportunity of having a discussion with me at some later time. He referred throughout to light articulated vehicles, and to the fact that his Amendment confined the proposed increase in the speed limit merely to light vehicles. I confess that I cannot see at the moment how this limitation to light vehicles can be read into the Amendment. As far as I can see, the effect of the Amendment would be to establish a 30-mile speed limit for a light vehicle with, superimposed upon it a 1,000 gallon tank. 1473 That is a more difficult vehicle to manage on the road than even the heavy motor vehicle, and I do not think that the hon. and gallant Gentleman would wish the privilege extended to that type of vehicle. He will, perhaps, take the opportunity, between now and the Bill going to another place, of discussing the matter with me on the more limited lines to which he has directed his speech, although I am not so sure that his Amendment has met the case.
§ Captain STRICKLAND
May I thank the Minister for his promise to consider this point, which, I am sure, is quite a sound one. I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.