HC Deb 11 December 1945 vol 417 cc203-4
73. Major Symonds

asked the Secretary of State for War on what dates within the last 12 months, and in what form, he has issued instructions that military drivers must at all times conform to normal traffic signals and road signs; and what penalties are imposed for breaches of such instructions.

Mr. Lawson

The instructions are brought to notice regularly each quarter, by Army Council Instruction, which provides for their repetition in summarised form three times a quarter in command, formation and unit orders. A court-martial in these cases may award as a maximum punishment either, in the case of an officer, cashiering, or, in the case of a soldier, two years' imprisonment with or without hard labour, or the punishment which under the civil law may be awarded for the offence.

Major Symonds

Is the Minister aware that these instructions are still not being observed, and that it was stated in the court proceedings referred to in the second part of my Question, that even in the town where this regrettable accident occurred these instructions were still not being observed?

Mr. Lawson

I have done all I can to emphasise this point upon the persons concerned. I may say that there was a detailed instruction sent out in 1942, and attention was drawn to this on 3rd March, 2nd June, 1st September and on the 1st of this month with instructions to the units who introduced the original A.C.I.

Mr. Stubbs

Can the Minister say whether local authorities receive information from his Department that the military authorities must obey the traffic regulations, and if not, why not?

Mr. Lawson

All I can say is that I have emphasised this matter as much as I can, and I cannot do any more than I have done.

Major Bruce

What action does the Minister take when cases come to his notice where the instructions have beer disobeyed?

Mr. Lawson

I have stated what the penalties are on the men who have disobeyed them.