HC Deb 30 March 1960 vol 620 cc1310-1
25. Mr. Strauss

asked the Minister of Transport whether he will ask the Road Research Laboratory to make a new investigation on the incidence of vehicular mechanical defects in causing road accidents.

Mr. Marples

The Road Research Laboratory is constantly investigating the circumstances in which road accidents occur, either at our request or on its own initiative. I do not think that a new investigation into the incidence of mechanical defects in relation to road accidents would add materially to the information already in our possession on this subject.

Mr. Strauss

If the right hon. Gentleman does not ask for a new investigation, will he, in order to prevent further delay, look at the Laboratory's last investigation and its conclusions that in 20 per cent. of the road accidents which occur in this country some mechanical defect is a contributory cause? Will he bear that conclusion in mind?

Mr. Marples

I will, but again—first things first. I agree with the right hon. Gentleman's recent question: the first thing is to get the vehicle testing in before we start making any more investigations. I will try to do that as quickly as possible.

Mr. Short

Does not the right hon. Gentleman agree that our statistics about the causes of road accidents are woefully inadequate? He agreed about this himself some time ago. What steps is he taking to improve the statistical analysis?

Mr. Marples

I agree. The analysis we make is formed on the wrong basis. It is carried out by the police, and I have asked the Road Research Laboratory to carry out a very large investigation into a number of accidents, not necessarily only those caused by mechanical defects, but into all defects, human error, and so on.