HC Deb 15 March 1961 vol 636 cc1398-9
43. Mr. E. Johnson

asked the Minister of Transport if he is aware that there is often a considerable variation in the reading of tyre pressure gauges on tyre pumps at public garages; and what action he proposes to take in the interest of road safety to ensure that such gauges give an accurate reading.

Mr. Marples

I have no evidence of danger arising from this source which would justify me in seeking powers to control the equipment of garages.

Mr. Johnson

Would not my right hon. Friend agree that nowadays when high speeds are possible it is most essential in the interests of road safety to have tyres correctly inflated, and if cars are to be tested for other mechanical defects, ought we not to be quite sure that it is possible to know what tyre pressure one has? I have heard of variations up to 10 lbs in certain cases.

Mr. Marples

Some variation in tyre pressure is acceptable because manufacturers recommend for individual types a range of pressures varying with the load carried. However, if my hon. Friend has any instance in mind in which he thinks that a garage is defective in respect of its equipment, I shall be delighted to hear from him about it.

Mr. Gresham Cooke

Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind that on very fast roads like the M.1, even where the surface is perfect, it is believed that some accidents have been caused by incorrect or too low tyre pressures? Therefore, is it not particularly important that this should be kept in mind and that garages on the M.1 in particular, should have the correct machines for measuring tyre pressures?

Mr. Marples

I have no reason to think that they have not the correct machines. What is missing in most cases is that the motorist himself has not looked at his tyres to ascertain the pressures.

Mr. Snow

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that neither he nor his two hon. Friends are correct? The pressure inside an air line or air pump, about which they are talking, is incorrect in any event. The pressure that one wants is the pressure inside the tyre, and the only way to ascertain that is by the direct application of a gauge to the tyre valve.

Mr. Marples

I think that it is incumbent upon the individual motorist to make his own test of his tyres. We really cannot mollycoddle the motorist to this extent; he himself has a duty. A very tragic accident has been reported in the newspapers this morning which indicates that every motorist who travels on the M.1 at high speeds ought to look at his tyres regularly.