HC Deb 02 August 1944 vol 402 cc1365-7
21. Mr. Keeling

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of War Transport whether he will state the main causes of road accidents to children; and what steps are being taken to make them known to schoolchildren directly and to younger children through their parents.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of War Transport (Mr. Noel-Baker)

The majority of all the accidents which happen to children on the roads occur when the children suddenly run out from the pavement in front of a passing vehicle, or when they are using the road as a playground. The Road Safety Committee will make proposals for removing these causes of accidents, so far as that can be done; in the meantime, the Board of Education and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents are doing everything that is at present practicable to educate both the children and their parents.

Mr. Keeling

What are the difficulties in carrying out the suggestion in the second part of the Question?

Mr. Noel-Baker

I think that we are carrying them out as far as we can.

Mr. Silverman

Will my hon. Friend take care in the investigations to avoid any implication that the fault is wholly or mainly that of the children?

Mr. Thorne

Do not the local authorities make arrangements to have policemen stationed at the schools to escort children across the road?

Mr. Noel-Baker

In some places it is possible for the local authorities to arrange that. We are making the experiment of having school-boy patrols with the help of the Board of Education, a system which has succeeded in the United States. We are also investigating the possibility of voluntary and other adult patrols.

Mr. Gallacher

Is not the Minister aware that the real solution is adequate playing-fields, and that we can never get them while the Tories hang on to the land?

Mr. Noel-Baker

Adequate playing-fields are very important.

Mr. Leach

Will the hon. Gentleman see that a stopper is put on the speed maniacs?

23. Sir Edward Campbell

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of War Transport whether, in order to prevent death and injuries to children, he will, in conjunction with the local education authorities, arrange that all schoolchildren below the age of 10 shall be compelled to wear a slip-on red arm brassard with "Look left and right before crossing the road" clearly printed on it, to be put on before they leave home for school and again when they leave school for home.

Mr. Noel-Baker

I am grateful to the hon. Baronet for his interesting suggestion, which I will lay before the Road Safety Committee for their consideration. I cannot, of course, anticipate the decision to which the Committee will come, but I am sure my hon. Friend will understand that various special difficulties would be involved, if we tried to carry out his plan during the period of the war.