HC Deb 27 June 1962 vol 661 cc1153-4
39. Mr. Boyden

asked the Minister of Transport what were the comparable fatal accident statistics for travel by train and road, respectively, within the United Kingdom during 1961.

Mr. Marples

There were 23 fatal train accidents in 1961, which resulted in the death of 9 passengers, 10 railway servants and 23 other persons. There were 6,360 fatal road accidents, in which 3,546 occupants of motor vehicles and 3,362 pedal cyclists and pedestrians were killed.

Mr. Boyden

In view of the right hon. Gentleman's startling announcement that he believes in the greatest good for the greatest number, may I ask him to take note of these figures when he proposes to close branch railways?

Mr. Marples

Certainly, especially when the branch railway carries only a single person.

Mr. Popplewell

In view of the alarming announcement which the right hon. Gentleman made to the House just now, will he consider whether, after every fatal accident on the roads, he should hold an inquiry as he does after a fatal accident on the railways? In many instances when fatal accidents occur, although police court proceedings may follow, there are peculiarities in the layout of the road and other circumstances which may have played a contributory part in the accident.

Mr. Marples

In the case of fatal accidents, the coroner always holds an inquest. Places on the roads where a large number of accidents occur are what we in the Ministry call "black spots". If a lot of accidents occur, we look at them and do our best to take remedial action, either by easing the curve, putting down a new surface, lopping off trees or dealing with whatever may be the cause of the accidents.

Mr. Gibson-Watt

Is not the answer which my right hon. Friend has given proof that every £ spent on the roads is money well spent?

Mr. Marples

Provided that the design is good, I agree with that.

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