HC Deb 08 December 1949 vol 470 cc2071-2
32. Sir Waldron Smithers

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if, in view of the fact that, since the screen on the left-hand side of the driver in a taxi is a fixture, the driver is in danger of being trapped in the event of an accident, he will direct that, in future, the left-hand partition should be made to open.

Mr. Ede

I assume that the Question refers to the Metropolitan police district. The matter was fully considered in connection with the design of the new types of cabs, and according to my information there is no likelihood that the driver could not release himself, or be released, from the front or either side of his seat, in the event of an accident. There is, of course, no left-hand door.

Sir W. Smithers

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that when a friend of mine, a taxi-driver, had an accident the other day the right-hand door was damaged and he was trapped—luckily there was no fire or other incident—and his life was in danger; and is it possible to have the left-hand partition made to open?

Mr. Ede

I understand there is a window in the left-hand partition through which a person of ordinary size can get out, but if the hon. Gentleman will give me the detailed particulars of the case he has in mind, I will have it investigated, because I am anxious that these men should be reasonably safe in carrying on their occupation.

Mr. John Lewis

Is it not quite obvious from the reply of the Home Secretary that apart from the small aperture in the window on the left-hand side of the driver there is no means of access whatsoever, so that if there were an accident and a fire and the right-hand door would not open, the man would inevitably perish, because there is no question whatever of his being able to get out?

Mr. Ede

These designs were, of course, made in consultation with the trade. I have offered to have the matter looked into and I will bear in mind the point which my hon. Friend has raised.

Major Legge-Bourke

What is the ordinary size of a taxi-driver and how many conform to it?

Mr. Ede

They are rather stouter than the hon. and gallant Member.

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