HC Deb 20 July 1960 vol 627 c491
39. Mr. Gresham Cooke

asked the Minister of Transport if he has studied the demerit point system, as operated by the Transport Minister in Ontario, particulars of which have been sent to him by the hon. Member for Twickenham, by which the accumulation of twelve points in a two-year period for driving offences brings suspension of the driving licence for three months; and whether, in view of its beneficial effect on driving responsibility, he will consider its adoption here.

Mr. Marples

I am not at present satisfied that the points system as operated in Ontorio is suitable for adoption in this country.

Mr. Gresham Cooke

Is my right hon. Friend aware that in Ontario if a motorist commits two or three offences points are given against him and that, if he collects twelve adverse points, his license is temporarily taken away? Is he further aware that the Transport Minister in Ontario has said that this had had a very beneficial effect, particularly on young drivers, and has improved driving habits? We ought not to close our minds to this practice in this country.

Mr. Marples

I want to make it clear that my mind is not closed or made up. I said that I was not at present satisfied. The reason for that is that it is a very important principle of English law that subjects should not suffer penalties without a hearing. The Ontario scheme seems to me to short-circuit that established legal practice.

Mr. Benn

Can the right hon. Gentleman tell us whether a section of his Department is studying and assessing the experience of foreign States in this sphere of road safety? If so, will he make available to the House in a suitable form in the Library reports on these foreign experiments so that we may judge whether some of them might be suitable for introduction here?

Mr. Marples

I should like to consider that. There is a very good film on that subject which we shall be showing shortly.