HC Deb 30 July 1956 vol 557 cc1056-8

Lords Amendment: After the Amendment last inserted, insert: D.—(1) The classes or descriptions of vehicles in relation to which, for the purpose of granting a licence by virtue of the passing of a prescribed test of competence to drive, the test shall be treated as having been the prescribed test shall include not only any class or description for which the test was the prescribed test when it was passed but also—

  1. (a) if the test was passed before the coming into operation of this section, any other class or description for which the test was sufficient at the coming into operation of this section,
  2. (b) whenever the test was passed, any other class or description for which, by virtue of regulations under subsection (5) of section six of the Act of 1934, the test, or any other test declared by such regulations to be equivalent thereto, was sufficient at the time of the application for the licence, being a class or description to which this paragraph is applied by such regulations,
  3. (c) whenever the test was passed, any other class or description which by virtue of this section has been comprised in a licence previously granted to the applicant.
(2) A person who has been granted a licence to drive vehicles of any class or description by virtue of subsection (1) of section two of the Road Traffic (Driving Licences) Act, 1947 (which conferred rights on persons who had held provisional licences under emergency provisions to be granted licences to drive without passing a test) shall for the purposes of this section be treated as if he had, immediately before he was first so granted such a licence, passed the test sufficient at that time for that class or description of vehicles. (3) Where the holder of a licence under Part I of the Act of 1930 surrenders it and applies under section four of the Act of 1930 for a new licence, then if by virtue of this section he is entitled to the grant of a licence comprising any class or description of vehicles not comprised in the surrendered licence he shall, if he so requires, be granted a new licence on payment of a reduced fee of two shillings and sixpence; but a licence granted on payment of the reduced fee shall continue in force only for the period for which the surrendered licence would have continued if not surrendered. (4) In this section the expression 'licence' means a licence to drive granted under Part I of the Act of 1930, and references in this section to a test sufficient at any time for a class or description of vehicles are references to a test which at that time was the prescribed test therefor or the passing of which authorised the granting at that time of a licence comprising that class or description.

Mr. Watkinson

I beg to move, That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment.

The main purpose of this new Clause is to remove an anomaly which, under the law as it stands, arises when additions are made to the classes or descriptions of vehicles which a person becomes qualified to drive if he takes a particular test. At present, when such additions are made a person who takes the test can drive the vehicles for which the test was already a qualification and vehicles of the additional class or classes. It sometimes happens, however, that a person who has taken exactly the same test in the past cannot drive the additional vehicles without taking a further test. This obviously is not what anybody intended, and the new Clause simply provides for the removal of this anomaly in cases where it has occurred and enables Ministers in the future to prevent it from arising again.

The Clause also enables a person who becomes entitled to drive an additional vehicle to obtain a new licence straight away and at a reduced fee of 2s. 6d. Again, this is a useful provision, which will remove an obvious anomaly, and I commend it to the House as a sensible addition.

Mr. G. H. Oliver (Ilkeston)

Will the Minister be kind enough to settle a point which I have not yet had an opportunity to check? Section 2 (1) of the Road Traffic (Driving Licences) Act, 1947, covers men who came into the road transport industry during the war and who, I think, would have had provisional licences because there was no driving test at that time. Will the new Clause cover that class of man and put him beyond any doubt that another test will be necessary?

Mr. Watkinson

I am advised that that is so.

Mr. H. R. Spence (Aberdeenshire, West)

The new Clause will be very much appreciated in the rural areas. I have been in correspondence with my right hon. Friend about this in the past, and I should like to thank him for it, because it will help tractor drivers.

Question put and agreed to.—[Special Entry.]