HC Deb 22 July 1959 vol 609 cc1266-7
53. Mr. D. Jones

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation when he expects to bring in regulations for the testing of ten-year-old cars, as provided in the Road Traffic Act, 1956.

Mr. Watkinson

I have now circulated draft regulations to bodies representing vehicle users, municipalities, the motor trade and other interests. When any comments have been received and considered I shall be able to announce the date on which the regulations will come into effect.

Mr. Jones

Cannot the right hon. Gentleman be a little more specific? He told us at the beginning of the year that the regulations would be introduced in the middle of this summer and now he is going to delay them further. What is the cause of this? Does the Minister fear that he may offend motoring organisations just in advance of a General Election? Is that one of the reasons why he is not introducing them now?

Mr. Watkinson

The hon. Gentleman knows that the causes lie in purely technical reasons. Let me give an example. There has been the greatest possible difficulty in legally defining whether a motor is properly fitted with headlamps or not, in the sense of a definition. Until these things were cleared up there would have been loopholes in the regulations which would have frustrated the whole inspection procedure.

Mr. Strauss

How can the right hon. Gentleman justify three-and-a-half years' delay in bringing these regulations in? What he has just said will mean a further delay of many months. How many additional lives are to be lost before these inspections can begin?

Mr. Watkinson

There will not be a delay of many more months. I recognise that the right hon. Gentleman has a great interest in this matter. We have tried to get forward as quickly as we could, but to start inspections with a lot of loopholes in the regulations which would have enabled cars to escape inspection altogether would have been the worst possible course to take.

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