HC Deb 24 January 1962 vol 652 cc189-90
23. Mr. Costain

asked the Minister of Transport what facilities are available in London and the Home Counties for private motorists to have the use of prepared surfaces similar to those used by the Metropolitan Police and London Transport to train drivers to control skidding vehicles.

Mr. Hay

I understand that skid pan facilities are provided by two motoring schools in Hertfordshire and Oxfordshire. I am also informed that a police authority in the Home Counties hope shortly to be able to offer the public instruction on a skid pan.

Mr. Costain

Is my hon. Friend aware that that reply will bring much satisfaction? As the Department is keen on this sort of thing, would he approach the Minister of Aviation and the Secretary of State for Air to inquire whether some of the unused runways could be used for this purpose?

Mr. Hay

My right hon. Friend has no statutory power to run things of this kind. I think I should tell the House that some years ago a county police force in fact made use of a disused airfield for skid pan purposes but the demand was so great and claims on police manpower were so heavy that reluctantly the experiment had to be abandoned. We will do all we can to encourage better training in avoiding skids.

Mr. Mellish

Can the hon. Gentleman arrange with the Prime Minister to give examples and lessons in this?

Mr. Hay

Perhaps we might take example from the hon. Member opposite.

26. Mr. E. Johnson

asked the Minister of Transport how many proposals he has received from local authorities for building skid pans for giving skid training to motorists; in how many such cases he has been asked to recommend the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs to grant loan sanction for this purpose; and what has been his reply.

Mr. Hay

One, Sir, where my right hon. Friend was asked to recommend approval of loan sanction. In the light of recent representations from the local authority concerned, he is at present reexamining the application.

Mr. Johnson

While welcoming my hon. Friend's Answer to that, may I ask if he would not agree that, in view of the fact that the Road Research Laboratory said 50,000 accidents were caused through skidding in 1959, it is most desirable to give every possible encouragement to local authorities or to other organisations which are trying to provide these facilities which are very rarely available to the average motorist?

Mr. Hay

My hon. Friend will no doubt have in mind the Answer I gave to a supplementary question a few moments ago on this subject. The fact that my right hon. Friend is prepared to reconsider this application should, I think, be some reassurance to him.

Mr. P. Williams

Would my hon. Friend not agree that there is some danger in making everyone a perfectionist in skidding and that it might be better, first, to save money and, secondly, to drive a bit slower?