HC Deb 27 January 1960 vol 616 cc163-4
34. Mr. Darling

asked the Minister of Transport whether, in the interest of road safety, he will consider making stricter regulations governing the granting of licences for commercial road vehicles, and, in particular, withholding licences from operators who do not have adequate garages, or facilities for the proper maintenance of their vehicles.

Mr. Marples

No, Sir. I think the existing law meets the need.

Mr. Darling

Would the Minister agree that quite a number of accidents are caused by vehicles on the roads not being in a proper state of repair, and does not he think it wrong to give licences to operators who cannot keep their vehicles in a proper state of repair? Although the purpose behind this Question is not to put the small operator off the road, would the right hon. Gentleman consider making suggestions to those people for the collective organisation of facilities for repair where individually they cannot afford the facilities themselves?

Mr. Marples

It is not a question of facilities or of whether the vehicle is in repair or not. The Traffic Commissioners can withhold a licence, when applied for, if they think the applicant is not a fit person to hold a licence; and if his vehicle is not good, he is not a fit person. Also, during the currency of a licence for a public service vehicle, they can examine it and can suspend the licence. There is no doubt that the existing laws are sufficient, and a great deal of good is being done.

Mr. Bence

Would not the right hon. Gentleman agree that the majority of road accidents are due not so much to the state of the vehicles but to the state of the people in charge of them, especially when they have taken alcohol?

Mr. Marples

To be honest, I am not sure that the analysis of why accidents occur is as comprehensive or as accurate as it should be. I would prefer not to answer that supplementary question until I have made sure, which 1 am trying hard to do.

Mr. Popplewell

The Minister said that the Traffic Commissioners can examine vehicles. What staff have they got to do this work? Do the Traffic Commissioners depend on spot checks which the police may make of a vehicle at any time? Is the right hon. Gentleman satisfied that sufficient inspection is taking place to keep unfit vehicles off the roads, because there are many of them on the roads at the moment?

Mr. Marples

I should like notice of that supplementary question. If the hon. Gentleman has evidence of any vehicles he thinks are not suitable, and will let me have it, I will look at it.

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