HC Deb 04 December 1963 vol 685 cc1137-8
11. Mr. Turton

asked the Minister of Transport whether he is aware that many traffic accidents are due to the absence of adequate indicator signals on trailers behind heavy lorries; and whether he will introduce regulations to make the fitting of such direction indicators compulsory.

Mr. Marples

During 1961 the number of heavy goods vehicles involved in serious accidents while towing was 130, but information on how many of the trailers lacked direction indicators is not available. The Motor Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations, 1963, contain new provisions about direction indicators fitted to vehicles registered after August, 1965. These include a requirement that any large trailer towed by a motor vehicle so fitted shall itself be fitted with direction indicators. I wish to have some experience of the working of the new requirements before making it compulsory for any motor vehicle to be fitted with direction indicators.

Mr. Turton

Will my right hon. Friend appreciate that there is a continuing danger from these long trailers which, at the moment, have no traffic indicators to show when they are turning, and that a number of accidents are still occurring because of this? Will he consider bringing in new regulations in the interests both of other road users and of the drivers of these heavy lorries with trailers, who have to use hand signals at present?

Mr. Marples

I appreciate the point and there is no doubt that this does constitute a problem. I have already made some regulations and I should like to see how they work. I can assure my right hon. Friend that we shall not be slow in this matter.

Mr. Costain

Is my right hon. Friend aware that a number of these drivers use flashing head lights as signals and that the signals are not understood by many motorists, including myself? Will he make regulations or proposals on how the signals could be understood?

Mr. Marples

I do not think so. Each truck driver has his own particular system but I noticed, when we were having tests, for heavy diesel smoke, that although we caught quite a number of people in the first hour we saw very few smoking diesel engines thereafter.

Mr. H. Hynd

Has the right hon. Gentleman's Department studied the very efficient arrangements in America for signals on the backs of heavy goods vehicles and trailers?

Mr. Marples

Yes. We have also studied systems on the Continent where some heavy trailers are festooned with lights at the back.

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