HC Deb 04 December 1963 vol 685 cc1139-40
29. Mr. A. Pearson

asked the Minister of Transport what steps he will take in view of public concern arising from the serious road crashes in South Wales, involving death and injury to persons and repeated damage to property, and from the evidence in the reports of his examiners to a public inquiry held in October last by the licensing authority for the South Wales Traffic Area, on the condition of over seventy vehicles of one firm, which showed numerous defects in their braking and steering systems and other shortcomings.

Mr. Marples

The defective vehicles were prohibited from further use until they were put into roadworthy condition. As a result of the action taken by the licensing authority, the firm's arrangements for vehicle maintenance have been substantially improved,

I assume that, in referring to road crashes, the hon. Member has in mind those involving goods vehicles which have occurred at Cowbridge, Glamorgan. Investigations conducted by the Department's technical officers have disclosed only one case in which the accident resulted from a defect in the vehicle and in this instance it was due to a mechanical failure which could not be related to lack of maintenance.

Mr. Pearson

Is not there accumulating evidence that motor transport vehicles carrying heavy loads are ill maintained,and does not the present state of affairs require that legislation should be introduced to ensure that maintenance is carried out only by qualified motor transport engineers?

Mr. Marples

To set up such qualifications would be a pretty big job. On the wider question of the condition of goods vehicles generally, I am now working out arrangements with a view to the inclusion of all goods vehicles within the annual testing scheme which at present applies only to goods vehicles up to 30 cwt.