HC Deb 06 December 1939 vol 355 cc623-4
13. Mr. Sorensen

asked the Minister of Transport whether, in view of the serious increase in road accidents, he will include in his statistical report not only the number killed but also the number injured and the class of vehicle involved; whether he is aware of complaints respecting the high speed of public vehicles during the black-out; why commercial vehicles are now freed from general speed limits outside built-up areas; and whether he will reconsider the provision of an all-red period at pedestrian crossings?

The Minister of Transport (Captain Wallace)

The preparation of the detailed information asked for in this question would entail the diversion of staff, both in the police forces and in the Ministry of Transport, from more urgent work, to an extent which I should not feel justified in accepting in present circumstances. I am aware that there have been complaints in regard to the speed of public service vehicles, and I have taken steps to assure myself that operators are not working to speeds which are unsafe under black-out conditions. If, however, the hon. Member has in mind any particular case where it is alleged that these conditions are not being observed, I shall be glad to make inquiries if he will send me the necessary particulars. With regard to commercial good vehicles, there has been no modification of the statutory speed limits except in the case of vehicles used by the armed Forces. In reply to the last part of the question, it is the present policy that an all-red period for pedestrians at traffic lights should be provided where the volume of pedestrian traffic justifies it and where it is practicable to hold up traffic simultaneously on all the roads forming the intersection.

Mr. Sorensen

Is the right hon. and gallant Member aware that certain users of commercial vehicles assume that outside certain limits there is no restriction applied to them, and in view of the very grave increase in casualties on the roads does he not think that a somewhat fuller analysis might be of some use?

Captain Wallace

I am afraid that I cannot agree to that, for the reasons I have stated. If people assume that the law is different from what it is, they are liable to be prosecuted.

Mr. T. Williams

Is the right hon. and gallant Member aware that there is as much danger of people getting influenza and pneumonia and dying through travelling too slow instead of too fast?

Mr. Benjamin Smith

Is the right hon. and gallant Member aware that in the event of commercial vehicles exceeding the limit they will come under the same law with regard to the 30-mile limit which is still a fixture because there has been no change in it?

Captain Wallace

Precisely. That is the sense of my answer.