HC Deb 06 April 1955 vol 539 cc1157-8
20. Mr. Gresham Cooke

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation how many persons passed driving tests in 1954; and the total number of driving licences now current.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

Four hundred and thirty-three thousand six hundred and seventy. The number of ordinary licences current is 7,013,437. As provisional licences are issued for periods of three months only, it is not possible to give the figure for those now current; 2,553,558 were issued.

Mr. Gresham Cooke

Would not my right hon. Friend agree that the surprising increase in the number of driving licences underlines the necessity for the road programme and the Road Traffic Bill?

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

Yes, Sir.

23. Mr. Rankin

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation what provision is made in his regulations for testing applicants for colour blindness when they apply for a driving test.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

None, Sir.

Mr. Rankin

Is the Minister now satisfied that the supplementary question which I put to him on this matter last Wednesday was seriously meant, and will he look into the matter in order to make sure that there is no danger due to the fact that people who are colour blind are driving motor cars?

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

Yes, I have already indicated to the hon. Gentleman, in answer to the first part of his Question, that I appreciate that. In regard to the second part, I have been into the matter and find that, in fact, little difficulty has arisen owing to the fact that traffic lights are always of uniform design and that, therefore, even though the light may not be recognisable, the driver can generally identify it by its position.

Mr. Nicholson

Is it not a fact that, generally, colour-blind people recognise a difference in shade which tells them that different colours are showing?

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

I think that in some cases that is so.

Mr. Usborne

Does the Minister realise that probably over 5 per cent. of males suffer from some kind of colour blindness and that the greatest proportion of these cannot distinguish red from green?

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

I think that is a question which had probably better be put down to my right hon. Friend the Minister of Health.