HC Deb 30 March 1955 vol 539 cc355-6
29. Mr. Viant

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation whether he is aware that a majority of the public are in favour of the imposition of a blood test for motorists involved in serious accidents; and if he will give consideration to the introduction of legislation to enable such tests to be carried out in the future.

34. Sir F. Medlicott

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation if, in view of the recent substantial increase in the number of deaths and injuries on the roads, he will now make legislative provision for the imposition of a blood test on all drivers of motor vehicles involved in accidents causing death or serious injury.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

I have no evidence either to confirm or to reject the assertion made in the first part of the Question by the hon. Member for Willesden, West (Mr. Viant). Research is being carried out jointly by the Medical Research Council and the Road Research Laboratory to find out, under laboratory conditions, how precisely measured quantities of alcohol affect driving performance and whether such effect can be satisfactorily assessed. I hope their report will be available this year.

Mr. Viant

May I ask the right hon. Gentleman, in view of the first part of his reply, whether he is aware that the " News Chronicle " has recently taken a Gallup poll, and it was upon the evidence provided by that poll that I based the Question?

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

I note the source of the hon. Gentleman's information. As I said in my answer, I can neither confirm or reject it, but for practical purposes I think that we ought to await the results of the tests to which I have referred.

Sir F. Medlicott

In view of the fact that the reliability of this test has to a large extent been proved—[HON. MEMBER: " No."]— would it not be a much more satisfactory way of ascertaining the condition of drivers than the present unsatisfactory tests of conduct that have been taking place?

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

As I said in my earlier reply, I would rather await the conclusions of the Road Research Laboratory tests.

Mr. Stokes

Contrary to what the hon. Member has said, is it not a fact that most of the Members of this House would fail to pass the test if they were tested immediately after lunch, and that it bears no relation whatever to the condition of the driver?