HC Deb 10 November 1954 vol 532 cc1177-9
11. Mr. Shepherd

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation when he proposes to take action in connection with the dazzle problem; and whether he will, as an interim measure, adopt the yellow light.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

Effective action to check dazzle largely depends on standardisation of lighting power and correctness of aim of the headlight. Much preliminary work has been done, but it is not possible to make new regulations until facilities for enforcement and testing can be provided, and time would in any event be required while opportunity was given for the fitting of cars with lights of the prescribed pattern. Work at the same time is proceeding in an attempt to secure international agreement. So far as the second part of the Question is concerned, the weight of scientific evidence is against my hon. Friend's view that yellow lights reduce dazzle.

Mr. Shepherd

Is not my right hon. Friend aware that his answer will further depress those of us who are anxious to see some action on this question, and whatever may be the official view of the backroom boys of the Ministry of Transport, those who, like myself, have been driving for 25 years think that the yellow light is of some advantage?

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

I think that the reason the hon. Gentleman sees an advantage in the yellow light is that he has seen it in France, where the light is not only yellow, but of a lower power.

Mr. G. R. Strauss

Will the right hon. Gentleman at the same time consider the distracting effect of these blinking, twinkling trafficators which so much embarrass motorists?

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

Yes, Sir.

Mr. G. Wilson

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the Road Research Laboratory has advised against the yellow light?

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

I understand that is so.

Mr. Chapman

Why not just prohibit undimmed headlights? Those who drive know that an undimmed headlight is very little better than a dimmed headlight. Why not prohibit it for the sake of safety?

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

The problem really turns not on whether the headlight is dimmed or undimmed, but on the angle of its setting. A very little alteration in angle—something less than three degrees—can make all the difference between a safe light and dazzle.

40. Mr. D. Jones

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation what results were secured from the international tests which were held in the United States of America earlier this year, which his technical advisers attended; and what action he proposes to take, arising from these tests, in making headlamp dipping universal.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

The results of these tests are at present being analysed by an international working party of technical experts. Until I know the result of this analysis and receive a copy of the report, I cannot possibly say what action it will be right for me to take.

Mr. Jones

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the attention of his predecessor was called to this matter in the early months of 1952 by a trade union which caters for a large number of public vehicle drivers, and that there is real apprehension among bus drivers about the danger of driving after dark because of different methods? Is he aware that his predecessor told me more than 12 months ago that something was being done, and does not he think it is time that he got a move on?

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

I am as anxious to get on as the hon. Gentleman, but he may be aware that there are certain difficulties about hustling an international working party.