HC Deb 18 January 1940 vol 356 cc208-9
40. Mr. Levy

asked the Home Secretary whether, in view of the increased traffic fatalities, he will reconsider his decision not to permit the use of two shaded headlamps so as to improve the vision of drivers; and whether he will take steps to impress upon pedestrians, by broadcast and otherwise, the necessity of exercising the utmost care in crossing the road in view of the gravely reduced range of observation for motorists?

Sir J. Anderson

I am anxious to take all practicable steps to lessen the number of traffic fatalities, but as I explained to my hon. Friend on a previous occasion, the simultaneous use of two headlamps would very greatly increase the amount of light upon the road as affecting visibility from the air. I am not satisfied that the advantage to the driver would be such as to justify this additional risk; and I think it will be desirable first to see what improvement in driving conditions is produced by the decision to make the use of the new type of headlamp mask compulsory, as from Monday next. Opportunities are frequently taken to impress upon all road users the need for the exercise of the utmost care in present conditions, but I will certainly consider with my right hon. Friend the Minister of Transport what further action can be taken on these lines.

Mr. Levy

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the motorists find it exceedingly difficult to see pedestrians and all that is going on in the black-out, and that this experimental lighting gives the pedestrians a false sense of security and therefore is likely to add to the casualties on the road?

Sir J. Anderson

I think these are matters of opinion, but I do not agree with the view expressed by my hon. Friend.

Mr. Stephen

Will the right hon. Gentleman give an assurance that pedestrians shall not be prohibited from using the roads?

Brigadier-General Sir Henry Croft

Does my right hon. Friend realise that pedestrians still absolutely refuse to understand that they are not visible; and, in view of the terrible casualties that are taking place, will he arrange with the B.B.C. to make a short announcement at least every night for a fortnight, pointing out to the people that they cannot be seen, and that it is incumbent upon all pedestrians to take every step possible to realise that fact?

Sir J. Anderson

I certainly think that some share of responsibility does rest upon pedestrians, and I will consider with my right hon. Friend whether anything can be done.

Mr. Simmonds

Would my right hon. Friend ask the Secretary of State for Air to have some tests made from the air?