HC Deb 16 June 1959 vol 607 cc385-401

10.22 p.m.

Mr. Ernest Davies (Enfield, East)

I beg to move, That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that the Traffic Signs (Amendment) Regulations, 1959 (S.I., 1959, No. 761), dated 21st April, 1959, a copy of which was laid before this House on 28th April, be annulled. I move this Motion in order to explore the Government's intentions and to ask the Minister some questions about the application of the Regulations. I do not consider it good that this House should pass any new Regulations which create fresh offences without an opportunity to discuss the Regulations and to hear some explanation from the responsible Government Department. It is particularly necessary in this case because the Regulations are very confused and difficult to comprehend, and because of the multiplicity of markings which appear on the road surface. We are to have white lines of various lengths both dotted and continuous.

As I understand them, the Regulations provide for at least five principal types of continuous dots and dashes and solid white lines to appear on the roads. The dashes are to mark lanes. Long dashes show that there is a hazard ahead and are to act as a warning to the motorist. Long dashes on the near side with a continuous line on the far side mean that a motorist can neither park nor pass another vehicle. Two solid lines mean that motorists can neither cross them nor park in that spot. They are meant to warn the motorist of dangers ahead and that he must take the necessary action. Long dashes on the nearside and a solid line on the far side mean that he may cross the dotted line but he must not park. If the lines are reversed it means that he can pass but he must not cross over the solid line.

The motorist will be confused by some of these new markings because provision is made that the existing marks on the carriageway—and there are a large number—may remain in use for the next three years. That is how I read the Regulations, but perhaps the Joint Parliamentary Secretary will confirm it. Not until May, 1962, may they be removed.

Any new Regulations must be acceptable to motorists and reasonable. They must be capable of being enforced and be in force. The motorists must appreciate that the authorities can enforce the Regulations if an offence is committed and that he must obey the instructions which are indicated. The acceptance of the Regulations by motorists depends, in my opinion, on the extent to which the new markings are made. If they are used with discrimination and in the right place, the motorist will willingly accept them and the driver will know that the hazard against which he has been warned by means of such a line is a real one and that it would be dangerous for him to disregard the warning.

I wish to ask the Joint Parliamentary Secretary to ensure that markings on the carriageway are used sparingly rather than lavishly. I think that the hon. Gentleman will accept that it is better that there should be too few rather than too many. Then they will be obeyed and the motorist will know that they are wisely employed. Their purpose is to prevent overtaking by crossing the white line, and they are warranted to prevent overtaking on hill crests where the drivers of opposing streams of traffic have got good visibility of each other, where the sight line is bad for opposing traffic. They can be employed on sharp curves where obviously it is dangerous to overtake, on narrow roads, and in other cases. In every case there should be a real hazard, one which a good driver would avoid in any case. I am somewhat hesitant about accepting permissible breaking of the Regulations in certain cases, such as those when a person can go over the continuous line to board or alight from a vehicle or in cases of loading and unloading.

Paragraph (4, a) of Regulation 21 says: Nothing in sub-paragraph (a) of the last preceding paragraph shall apply— (a) so as to prevent a vehicle stopping on any length of road so long as may be necessary—

  1. (i) to enable a person to board or alight from the vehicle,
  2. (ii) to enable goods to be loaded on to or unloaded from the vehicle,"
If the lines were rightly marked it would be highly undesirable to permit loading and unloading or boarding or alighting from vehicles where the continuous solid lines—dual in most cases—are on the highway. If the Regulation provides that there shall be no parking there, there should also be no loading, unloading, boarding or alighting from a vehicle. Paragraph (5) says it is permissible for vehicles to turn across the double line in order to enter a side turning. It seems to defeat the purpose of the white lines if they are to be on intersections and it is to be permissible to turn right. I should have thought double white lines should not be painted on the carriageway at such intersections.

I ask the Joint Under-Secretary to what extent the Department exercises discipline over the use of road signs and markings. To what extent is he able to, and to what extent will he, take measures to ensure that there is uniformity in the use of these road markings I have suggested as desirable? What system is employed by highway authorities and others concerned who are responsible? It is essential that standards should be laid down so that the new Regulations shall be as effectively employed as possible.

It is equally important that there should be uniformity in their enforcement. Occasions have arisen in which motoring offences have been created and some authorities with small police forces have taken advantage of them to enforce Regulations vigorously in order to collect revenue by fines. I am not suggesting that that would be done in this case, but if these markings were employed lavishly and the motorist did not obey them it would enable penalties to be imposed and the motorist might consider that he was being unfairly treated.

On this question of enforcement, I have seen in the Press some reference to the use of cameras and other means of ensuring that the lines are not crossed. I think that where such methods are resorted to, the motorist should be fully informed so that he feels that he is not being treated unjustly.

Are these white lines to be "reflectorised" at night? Are there to be "cat's eyes" employed, and, if so, where there are double lines, will there be two lines of "cat's eyes"? Reference is made to that matter in the Regulations, but they relate only to a single line, and it seems to me that if there is only one line of "cat's eyes" and there are two white lines, the motorist would be committing an offence if he were to cross the "cat's eyes" without knowing that there were double white lines. If these Regulations are to be enforced, these lines should be visible at night, and obviously reflectorising, or the use of "cat's eyes," is essential.

If the Parliamentary Secretary is able to explain these points, I think the House will be happy to accept these Regulations because, as I say, I have moved this Motion purely for exploratory purposes. A new offence is being created, and the motorist is entitled to have a little more explanation than can be gleaned from the Regulations.

10.37 p.m.

Mr. George Jeger (Goole)

In seconding the Motion, may I add one or two questions to those posed by my hon. Friend the Member for Enfield, East (Mr. Ernest Davies)? As a motorist who uses the Great North Road, I have often been petrified, even before the Regulations came into force, by the way pedal cyclists use the middle of the road with impunity, putting a great deal of fear and terror into the hearts of motorists who overtake them.

Pedal cyclists cause far more danger than do ordinary motorists, or even pedestrians. If they are allowed to ignore these white lines which restrict the movements of motorists, they will be causing more accidents in the future than they have done in the past. I should like the Parliamentary Secretary to give some thought to this matter, and to tell us how many accidents have been caused in the past through pedal cyclists disregarding warning signs and crossing the road or riding in the middle of the road.

The existing markings are to continue until 12th May, 1962. I have asked questions about this point before, and the Parliamentary Secretary will recollect that on one occasion I drew attention to the fact that I had counted on one stretch of about five miles on the A.1 road ten different types of markings. If a variety of different markings is to continue until 1962 and there are to be penalties imposed in respect only of those specified in the Regulations, the poor motorist will suffer a great deal of confusion.

Will the Minister explain whether he is wedded to 1962 for the retention of the existing markings or whether some arrangement can be made with the local authorities to have them blacked out or to have warning signs placed in such a way as to allow the motorist to differentiate between the unofficial markings which are to exist for the next three years and the official ones for the contravention of which the motorist may be fined?

On the question of warnings, I should like to get an assurance from the Minister that these Regulations are not going to be operated strictly to start with and that prosecutions are not going to be embarked upon with great glee by the authorities in the various areas in which the markings are placed. A few days ago I asked the Minister a Question about the number of prosecutions which have already taken place since 12th May when the Regulations came into force. The right hon. Gentleman was unable to give me the figures. I had hoped that the answer was going to be "None" because the publicity given to these new Regulations has not up to now been very great.

I am quite sure that many motorists are perpetually parking their cars or stopping their cars in places forbidden by the new Regulations. I saw this happen on several occasions only last weekend. I hope, therefore, that a reasonable time will be given to motorists in which to realise what the Regulations mean, to have warnings given to them and during which they will not be prosecuted straight away.

I should also like to know if the services of the road patrolmen of the R.A.C. and the A.A. have been enlisted so that they may give necessary warnings and advice to motorists whom they see breaking the Regulations, possibly inadvertently. Perhaps the Parliamentary Secretary will give a little thought to these questions and help to clear the minds of those of us who are anxious to limit the number of accidents on the road, to welcome any Regulations that will cause these accidents to diminish and to bring safer driving a little nearer than it has been for many years.

10.43 p.m.

Mr. John Peyton (Yeovil)

The hon. Member for Enfield, East (Mr. Ernest Davies) and the hon. Member for Goole (Mr. G. Jeger) have moved and seconded this Motion with great reasonableness and restraint. One rather feels that their enthusiasm for the matter tonight is more than it was on a previous occasion when the Motion was on the Order Paper, because then, I believe, neither of the hon. Gentlemen who have supported it tonight thought it worth while to be present to give voice in its favour. Nevertheless, here we are tonight with the opportunity of considering these Regulations.

I want to make only a very few observations. First of all, and this will lead me to my principal point, I feel that the observations made by the hon. Member for Goole are really groundless in that his anxiety about the very rigorous enforcement of the Regulations is a very unreal one.

The point which I wish to put to my hon. Friend and to the House is that in these times we suffer from a plethora of Regulations which are not enforced at all. We have bigger, better and more beautiful signs all over our roadsides. We have speed-limit signs scattered all over the place, some for thirty miles an hour and some for forty miles an hour, but are adequate steps taken to enforce them? We have the experience of seeing streets made into one-way streets to free traffic and the net result is that one gets parking on both sides and passage through the street is more difficult than before.

What I am concerned about is that we should have some undertaking that when these Regulations are approved they will be efficiently enforced. I am bound to say that motorists who now find themselves in breach of a regulation and who are summoned and charged with that breach are desperately and devastatingly unlucky. Most motorists today are in a position of flouting regulations only too often, and I think it is a great disservice to the law and the community that regulations should be made, should have the consent and approval of this House, and should then be flouted as a matter of habit by a large number of people simply because other people do so and get away with it.

If we are to have these Regulations, they must be enforced, and I believe the Government would be wrong to ask the House to approve them unless they have a clear and definite intention that the Regulations shall be rigorously enforced. Let it at all times be made clear that no one makes regulations for fun. These things are made to preserve safety and convenience on the roads, and that is something of vital interest to all citizens.

Reference has been made to the question of inadequate publicity. I believe that one of the reasons why these Regulations do not get adequate publicity is because there is a feeling that there is no willingness on the part of the authorities as a whole to see that they are observed and that those who flout them are duly charged in the normal course of law and face the liability for penalties which have been duly laid down by this House. I hope my hon. Friend will give that point his due and careful attention.

10.48 p.m.

Mr. Gresham Cooke (Twickenham)

I do not take quite the same view as hon. Members opposite who moved this Prayer, though I appreciate the reasons behind their so doing. As a sailing man, I am always greatly impressed by the meticulous nature of the rules of the sea which are laid down to avoid collisions at sea. Nearly every possible circumstance is provided for in those rules. I should like to see the same kind of rules for avoiding collisions on land. If we had the same discipline on the roads as we have at sea, whereby people are prosecuted for disobeying the rules, we should reduce the accidents and avoid a great many collisions. Therefore, I join my hon. Friend the Member for Yeovil (Mr. Peyton) in what he said about the importance of seeing that these Regulations are enforced.

Mr. Jeger

Is the hon. Gentleman suggesting that we should have the same number of cars on land as there are ships at sea?

Mr. Gresham Cooke

If the hon. Gentleman goes up the Thames Estuary he will see that the shipping there is almost as crowded as the cars in Oxford Street. But my point is that I think these Regulations are a step in the right direction. I like a good many aspects of them because they lay down various ways of separating traffic. I have in mind particular examples, RM25 and RM26, showing on the road the words "Left turn," "Right turn," "Ahead," and so on. We have seen examples of this in Oxford Street and other parts of London, where people are learning to get their cars into the right lane when making a turn, and avoiding getting confused with traffic coming in the other direction. Indeed, the whole Regulations are to the good. When it is fully understood, the double white line will be very helpful.

I have one point which I hope my hon. Friend the Joint Parliamentary Secretary can answer tonight. I have not yet had much experience of using the double white line, although in the Whitsun holiday I motored up the Great North Road and came across examples of it. It seems to me that difficulty can arise where a stream of traffic is going along at a fairly fast pace as happens on the Great North Road, and on the Portsmouth Road, where there are double white lines also. When the dotted line is on the left, one can overtake if the road is clear, but one quickly meets a completely double white line and cannot get back to one's own lane in the time afforded in the gap between the dotted white line and the double white line.

Where a stream of traffic flows along a road like the Great North Road, the distances between the two sets of lines going in either direction are rather short and do not always enable the traffic to have enough space to get back into its own lane. This may be inherent in the layout of our roads, or it may be that the length of the double white lines is not long enough.

Perhaps my hon. Friend will answer this point and say what steps he is taking to overcome these difficulties. Subject to that, I welcome the Regulations, as I think that they will be helpful to motorists to avoid collisions.

10.52 p.m.

Mr. Eric Johnson (Manchester, Blackley)

I too, welcome the Regulations. I first came across the system of the double white lines in Belgium and two years ago, in a Question, I drew it to the attention of my right hon. Friend the Minister. The matter was then being considered. I am glad, therefore, to see that the double white lines are being adopted here.

In Belgium, however, although I met them for the first time, I understood easily what was required of me. In this country, I find it much more difficult. There seem to be many more lines, signs and complications. Possibly this is because we are in a stage of transition from one system to the other. I hope that my hon. Friend the Joint Parliamentary Secretary will assure us that it will be tidied up before long.

I agree with the point made by the hon. Member for Enfield, East (Mr. Ernest Davies) about making sure that hazards really are hazards. Often, possibly owing to an oversight by people working on or building roads, one finds "Road work ahead" or "Traffic lights ahead" signs displayed longer than is necessary. On one occasion, I saw a "Traffic lights ahead" sign, but I had to go about twenty miles before I reached the next lights. The "Hazard ahead" signs can be misleading and sometimes it is difficult to discover what the hazard is.

One point of criticism that I would make of the system as adopted in this country is on the lines of the observations of my hon. Friend the Member for Twickenham (Mr. Gresham Cooke) concerning the length of the separate lines. If one follows a slow-moving line of heavy goods vehicles, it is virtually impossible sometimes to get past one of them, especially if they are travelling nose to tail, before one comes upon another length of road where crossing the line is forbidden. Serious consideration might well be given to making those stretches of line longer and, perhaps, in some cases, eliminating them where they are not strictly necessary.

I wonder, too, a little about the value of this sort of pictorial designs, these large boards we see on the sides of the roads telling us what to do and presenting pictures of hazards, lines, and so on. I refer again to my experience in Belgium. I understood the signs there very much more easily. One was looking only for lines, not also for pictures on the side of the road, to discover what one ought to do.

I hope very much it will be found possible to simplify the system we have at present and to meet some of the criticisms which have been made tonight. I hope that my hon. Friend can tell us that in the meanwhile he will go a little bit more easy with the paint brush.

I stress the point made by my hon. Friend the Member for Yeovil (Mr. Peyton), which I think is of very great importance, that we should keep these Regulations down to as few as possible, but that when they are made they should be enforced and enforced rigorously, because signs on the road and lines on the road, if ignored, as they tend to be if there are too many of them, do not make for safety but are positive death traps.

10.56 p.m.

The Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation (Mr. Richard Nugent)

I welcome the Prayer which has been moved tonight, which gives us an opportunity to discuss these Regulations. These Regulations are making a very interesting innovation by introducing a system of mandatory road markings and for the first time in this country introducing a system of mandatory laning of the roads in certain places. This appeals to me very much, as, indeed, it does to my hon. Friend the Member for Twickenham (Mr. Gresham Cooke), because lane discipline is really basic to safe, smooth road movement.

This is only a very limited measure of lane discipline, but I am quite certain that as time goes by—and I hope not very much time—we shall be obliged to mark out the streets in our towns, and probably most of the roads outside, to guide drivers to move in lanes and that probably we shall have to strengthen the law to encourage people to stay in their lanes and not weave about. It is the lack of lane discipline which undoubtedly leads to very many accidents today, collisions in overtaking and so on. I believe that the basic thought here is right in helping to get safer traffic movement.

Of course, the worst of these accidents, collisions when overtaking, happen at blind corners and at blind rises—usually on overtaking, but not always. It is surprising the number of drivers who quite light-heartedly will go round a blind bend, or, even more so, who will go over a blind rise in the middle of the road, apparently without realising at all the extreme danger they are in. I have often watched them with my heart in my mouth. I am glad to say they usually escape, but occasionally, of course, there is a car coming the opposite way and then, because of the shortness of visibility, it is inevitable that not only will there be an accident but a very bad accident, because it will be a head on collision.

These Regulations make it an offence to cross the centre of the road when approaching a blind corner or an uphill rise when marked out with double white lines as prescribed in these Regulations. As the Regulations do no more than forbid a driver from very probably giving a shorter life for both himself and an approaching car driver they have been generally accepted as being the reverse of restrictive of human life; indeed, as something which will be rather liberalising in their effect, because they will prolong the lives of people who might otherwise have had them brought suddenly to an end. I have appreciated the sense in which the House has welcomed the Regulations tonight—that the thought behind them is good and instructive, even though there are certain anxieties about how they might be enforced.

The hon. Member for Goole (Mr. G. Jeger) was anxious particularly that there should be some leniency at the start. I cannot say, of course, what the police will do. They have a great measure of independence. I would suspect that they would probably tend as a rule to give warnings to start with in most cases, but they must use their judgment. I am absolutely certain that my hon. Friend the Member for Yeovil (Mr. Peyton) and my hon. Friend the Member for Manchester, Blackley (Mr. E. Johnson) are right that now we have made these Regulations mandatory and it will be an offence to cross the line motorists will rely on these lines where there is a blind rise or a blind corner. At present, if I go over a blind rise I usually expect someone to be coming the other way and I am ready to go into the ditch, but once these lines are on the road I shall go over a rise with some confidence that no one will be crossing the line. I agree that, in the interest of road safety, now we have decided to do this it is most important that the police should be strict as soon as they are satisfied that motorists generally understand the Regulations and make it clear that drivers who offend will be prosecuted.

Mr. G. Jeger

I thoroughly agree. My only thought was that there had not been adequate publicity up to now. As soon as we are satisfied that adequate publicity about the meaning of the lines has been effected, the Regulations should certainly be enforced strictly.

Mr. Nugent

I thank the hon. Member. I felt certain that that was his general feeling.

The Press, both national and local, has been very good to us in publicising these Regulations. I hope that it will continue to do so. The more they are publicised the better. I am sorry that my hon. Friend the Member for Blackley did not like the pictures that we put out. I thought that they were rather a help. Punch made a few jokes at our expense. Occasionally the line in the picture was going the opposite way to the bend on the road. But I think that most people understood our meaning and that on the whole the pictures have been helpful. We intend that they should continue to be put up about the country because we think that they will help people to understand how this arrangement works.

I agree with my hon. Friend the Member for Blackley that this form of marking has been used on the Continent, in Belgium and France, and in America for some years and has been found to give good results. Therefore, we introduce it here with confidence. It has the special merit that the mandatory rule to keep within the double white line applies only on the approach side to a bend or rise where visiblity is blocked, so that on the departure side the driver is released from the mandatory effect and can use his own judgment in the ordinary way.

As hon. Members have said, it is basic that any rule made for the motorist should seem to him sensible so that we can have his co-operation, and we have had very good co-operation from the motoring organisations. I have no doubt that they will be of great help throughout the country in advising their members on the significance of the Regulations.

We have had two years of experiment with this marking now—time passes quickly—on the Dover road and the Portsmouth road. I am inclined to think that most people have a fair idea of what it means now and that as it is carried out in the rest of the country people will take to it fairly quickly. We also, during that time, have been learning our part in this. It is a most complicated technical operation to site these lines correctly. My hon. Friend the Member for Twickenham made the point of the necessity to keep interval of sufficient length between two sets of lines. That is one of many considerations, but the actual siting of the lines depends not only on the vertical and horizontal alignment of the road but on the average speed of the vehicles on the road. The length of the lines must be varied according to those average speeds.

We have learnt those lessons now. We have learnt the technique of putting down these white lines. Not only is it a difficult technique, but it involves some hazards on a busy road, with surveyors standing in the middle of the road crouching down to get the eye-level of a driver in order to get the correct alignment, and holding up instruments and trying to avoid the traffic at the same time. However, I think that we have now obtained the correct criteria, and we have demonstrated them to our divisional road engineers and to county surveyors. At present, between 500 and 600 miles of trunk roads have been dealt with, under the direct supervision of our divisional road engineers and in consultation with the police.

We are about to send to county councils a directive setting out detailed particulars of the criteria and methods employed, so that the county surveyors will be able to apply them to the classified roads in their counties. There are about 66,000 miles of classified roads, so this is a big task, and I expect that it will take county authorities several years to complete it.

The hon. Member for Enfield, East asked what control we were keeping. County surveyors will be asked to submit their proposals to the divisional road engineers before carrying them out on the roads, so that the divisional road engineers can assure themselves that there is uniformity in the positioning of these lines. As they have a mandatory power it is essential that there should be uniformity throughout the country, and that the Minister, through his officials, should ensure that there is.

As I said last week, in answer to a Question put by the hon. Member for Enfield, East, our instructions are quite definite: "When in doubt, do not put them down." On many winding roads we could so easily have nothing but a continuous double white line, and in such circumstances nobody would take any notice of it. The advice given by the hon. Member for Enfield, East to be sparing is advice that we gladly accept, and we have sent out that advice to the country as a whole.

The hon. Member for Goole asked whether the double white lines were being laid down together with the existing signs on the surface of the road. I know that he had the unfortunate experience of having both the old and the new signs together on roads in his neighbourhood, but I hope that that will not happen again. The procedure is that on a road where a double white line is put down the existing lines must be burnt off the road so that there is nothing left but the double white line. The three-year rule which has been mentioned refers to the solid white line which has been used up to now as what we call a hazard line, on bends and winding lanes. It has been used as a guiding line to help drivers and to give them an indication that they are on a dangerous road, but it has had no mandatory force.

We now propose to remove that solid line and replace it where appropriate with a broken line of long white dashes at short intervals. In three years' time all the solid lines now appearing on many of our lanes and roads should be removed, so that the only places where solid white lines will appear will be in the context of the double white lines, where it is mandatory. Because there is a lot of that work to be done we are allowing the county authorities three years in which to do it. When that is done it will bring the United Kingdom in line with our international obligation under the European Agreement on Road Markings of 1957.

The hon. Member for Enfield, East asked about cat's eyes. We are in a difficulty there. It is impossible to get perfection. It is true that we could have two rows of "cat's eyes" on an uphill or blind rise, with a double white line, but on a bend with a double white line it would not be practicable to put a double row of cat's eyes to show motorists in the dark that there is a double white line, because the cat's eyes do not show up sufficiently on bends. The two lines run into each other and so do not give the motorist a clear warning. We decided that, for simplicity, the best plan was in all cases to put a single line of "cat's eyes" down between the solid line and dotted line and then in no case would there be two lines of "cat's eyes". That means that at night the motorist has the extra responsibility of spotting the double white line in the light of his headlamps. The fact is that at night the practical necessity for a double white line is less than in the daytime because the headlights of on-coming cars act as a warning. But on the advice of the police it was decided that the Regulations should be effective for 24 hours rather than only in the daytime. It is a matter of balancing the considerations, and I think we have the right balance. But we must see how things work out in practice.

The hon. Member for Enfield, East asked what uniformity of enforcement there would be. I cannot answer that. We have asked my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary to ensure that these Regulations are rigourously enforced. But outside the Metropolitan area it is a matter primarily for chief constables and standing joint committees. I feel sure that they will carry out their duties reasonably and effectively. The hon. Member referred to the practice which it is intended to introduce in my own county of Surrey where cameras are to be used. It is up to the police to decide what to do. One county will act in one manner and another county in another, in exactly the same way as different fines are imposed in different magistrates' courts. I hope that one day there will be a little more uniformity, but that is how it is at present.

The hon. Member for Enfield, East was concerned about the exceptions in the Regulations. We felt it necessary to allow exceptions for loading and unloading and at bus stops. I do not think that the point about cycles raised by the hon. Member for Goole is as serious as he thought. It applies only to the parking of a cycle. There is an exception in paragraph 4 (c). A cycle may be parked at the side of the road. That is as far as the exception goes. The presence of a cycle would not make any serious difference to the traffic. At some points there will be bus stops. At present we do not know how many. There will also be occasions when vans have to stop near houses. We consider that at this stage it would be too strict to make rigid regulations that there should be no stopping at all before we know how this will work out.

It must be recognised that normally when regulations are made about loading or unloading in a town or street a public inquiry is held and objectors have a chance to express their views. In this case there is no such procedure and therefore we felt it right, at any rate in the first place, to make exceptions of this kind where practical difficulties might arise and then see how matters work out. Regarding bus stops, I have asked the divisional road engineers to report on cases where there are bus stops where double white lines have been put down and to see whether it is possible to move the stops. If that proves to be impossible without serious inconvenience to passengers, I have asked that the possibilities of a bus bay should be investigated so that the obvious danger which would arise may be avoided.

With regard to paragraph 5, which deals with turning to enter a side turning, there are some stretches of road where the double white line will be put down and there is a blind bend and a side turning. Clearly, there must be an exception made if vehicles are to be allowed to turn right into the side turning. I agree that it is not perfection to have anybody crossing the line but these practical situations do arise and this seems to be the best way of dealing with them.

I can think of a stretch of road on the Portsmouth road between Milford and Haslemere where there is a turning right to Thursley. There is a blind bend rising up to the brow of a hill and then the roads dips down again. A double white line has been put down there but clearly one must allow a break to allow traffic to turn right. I dare say that one day our traffic engineers will find some means of making this measure absolute so that people who want to turn right will have to continue on the road and, perhaps, fly over something somewhere else. But at present we felt it was necessary to make these exceptions to meet practical circumstances. I think they are reasonable, but we shall certainly watch them carefully to see how they work out and if modification is needed later we shall bring further Regulations before the House.

I think this has been well and carefully worked out and that we have got it in a form where it will work satisfactorily. I much appreciate the spirit in which the House has received it. I believe it will help to make the roads safer and improve the traffic flow.

Mr. Ernest Davies

The Prayer having served its purpose of eliciting some information. I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Motion.

Motion, by leave, withdrawn.