HC Deb 26 March 1958 vol 585 cc419-20
26. Mr. Lipton

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation whether, by amending the Road Traffic Act, 1956, he will restore the power of magistrates to disqualify drivers who do not stop after an accident.

29. Mr. Slater

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation the number of drivers who failed to stop after an accident for the years 1955, 1956, and 1957; and, in the light of the information contained in the reports on these cases, if he will make a statement of his policy with regard to the amendment of the Road Traffic Act, 1956, to give magistrates power to disqualify drivers who fail to stop after an accident.

Mr. Watkinson

I think the penalties for failing to report an accident are adequate. That is why this offence was not included in the list, set out in the Road Traffic Act, 1956, of offences for which a court may order disqualification. I will, however, review the matter when the next suitable opportunity offers.

During 1955 and 1956 the numbers of convictions for this offence were 6,360 and 6,849 respectively; figures for 1957 I am afraid are not available.

Mr. Lipton

In thanking the Minister for that information and his promise to look into the matter, may I ask him to regard it with urgency? Is not he aware that a hit-and-run driver cannot be banned and cannot even have his licence endorsed and that all that can be done is to impose a maximum fine of £20? The figures to which the Minister has referred show that this is a serious gap in the 1956 Act which should be stopped up at the earliest possible moment.