HC Deb 25 March 1941 vol 370 cc413-4
27. Mr. A. Edwards

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he will cause a statement to be circulated to the Forces that the heavy casualty lists due to reckless Army drivers are a disgrace to the Service; and whether he will make it clear that men in the Service are subject to the same regulations as civilians and are liable to prosecution?

Captain Margesson

I would refer my hon. Friend to the answer given to my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Ayr Burghs (Sir T. Moore) on 4th February. Strict instructions have been issued on this subject, and it is, I think, sufficiently well known that drivers of War Department vehicles must observe traffic signals and road signs and must comply with the speeds imposed by law in built-up areas and other special areas where a local speed-limit is in force. A driver who breaks the traffic regulations is liable to prosecution by the police, or to military punishment. In addition, War Department vehicles are subject to restrictions upon speed which do not apply to civilian traffic.

Mr. Edwards

Is the Minister aware that these men are frequently given a driving schedule which makes reckless driving inevitable, and will he make inquiries and satisfy himself on that, as I have it on very good authority; and is he also aware that men are given charge of very powerful and heavy vehicles with very inadequate training?.

Captain Margesson

The last point is a different one altogether. On the first point, I am quite unaware that these drivers are given schedules which make it necessary for them to drive at a speed greater than that allowed by law, and if my hon. Friend has a case in point, I shall be very glad if he will bring it to my notice.

Sir Percy Harris

Will the Minister consider issuing a special Army Order calling attention to the necessity of conforming to civilian regulations by all ranks when driving cars and lorries?

Captain Margesson

I think the appropriate action has been taken.

Brigadier-General Brown

Is it not the fact that since special orders have been issued, there has been a good deal of improvement in the Army driving?

Captain Margesson

Yes, Sir.