HC Deb 18 May 1960 vol 623 cc1267-9
36. Mr. E. Johnson

asked the Minister of Transport when he expects to receive the Road Research Laboratory's detailed report on Christmas road accidents; if, when he receives it, he will publish it as a White Paper; and if he will call for similar reports to cover the Easter period and to cover a normal week.

Mr. Marples

I expect to receive the full report by the Road Research Laboratory on road fatalities over the Christmas period in about four weeks' time; some preliminary information may be available before the end of this month. The publication of the report and the desirability of calling for further detailed inquiries of this kind are questions to be decided when I have received and read the report itself.

Mr. Johnson

Would not my right hon. Friend agree that we have very little accurate information about the causes of road accidents? Would it not be possible to devise some means whereby we can obtain and see a detailed report, at any rate about fatal accidents, so that we can decide more easily what action is necessary to prevent them?

Mr. Marples

That is precisely why I asked the Road Research Laboratory to undertake this rather detailed investigation. It is an exceptional investigation by a specially qualified staff and they are taking a great deal of time and trouble. I think the next move ought to await their report, and we shall then see what we can do.

Mr. G. Wilson

Can my right hon. Friend give an assurance that a sufficiently large staff has been employed on this inquiry? It seems to have taken a considerable time.

Mr. Marples

Yes, Sir. There are nine full-time people on the job. They are not only going into coroners' reports but visiting the sites of accidents. This is the most detailed investigation that has ever been undertaken.

Mr. Benn

If the preliminary figures are available, as the Minister expects, by the end of this month, will he undertake to make them available to the House, even if in duplicated form, so that we may have them before us when we debate the Order which is to bring into force a 50 m.p.h. limit for Whitsun?

Mr. Marples

The two things are quite unrelated. I think I take the House with me when I say that it is desirable for me to wait until I receive that detailed report, which is not only about the figures but about reasons for the accidents.

40. Mr. Langford-Holt

asked the Minister of Transport what percentage of accidents on the road in the last twelve months have not involved a private car.

Mr. Hay

I regret that the information asked for is not available for 1959. In January and February, 1960, about 46 per cent. of all accidents did not involve private cars.

Mr. Langford-Holt

Does this mean that a new set of statistics is now being obtained for the right hon. Gentleman which was not previously obtained? Can the hon. Gentleman say what relation the 46 per cent. not involving private cars bears to the total number of vehicles on the roads? Does it show that private cars are concerned in more accidents or fewer accidents than the other categories?

Mr. Hay

I hesitate to try to answer the second part of the hon. Gentleman's question without notice. If he will put down a Question I will give him the answer. With regard to the first part of the supplementary question, the position is that as from the beginning of this year we are able to get statistics about private car and other types of vehicle accidents.

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