HC Deb 25 May 1960 vol 624 cc428-9
18. Dr. A. Thompson

asked the Minister of Transport whether he has considered the representations of the Law and Parliamentary Bills Sub-Committee of Fife County Council, a copy of which has been sent to him by the hon. Member for Dunfermline Burghs, stressing the need for legislation at an early date to cover the detection of drivers of motor vehicles under the influence of drink or drugs; and whether he will make a statement.

Mr. Marples

I have noted the representations referred to by the hon. Member, and will bear them in mind in my examination of the problem of drink and driving.

Dr. Thompson

In view of the fact that it is many months now since Professor Drew's medical research team demonstrated with complete scientific accuracy that there is now an objective test to assess the influence of drinking and drugs on driving, will the right hon. Gentleman give an assurance that he will incorporate those findings into our legal system to further the ends of justice and to increase road safety?

Mr. Marples

I do not think that Professor. Drew and his colleagues reported "many months ago", but this is one of the most important issues, and I would be the last person to underrate it. The Government are making an exhaustive analysis of what happens, because we must study what happens in various parts of the world before we bring any legislative proposals to the House. A joint team, sponsored by my Ministry and by my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary, will be visiting Scandinavia shortly to see how they cope with their problem of drink and drugs.

Mr. Benn

Is it not a fact that unless there is some effective test after accidents it will never be possible to find out how many of them are due to drink and drugs? Can the Minister tell us, quite aside from his proposals for road safety, whether he is proposing to introduce any tests which could be applied to give him the diagnostic figures he needs before he can act?

Mr. Marples

I think that it is better to wait till the Government have completed their study.

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