HC Deb 27 February 1963 vol 672 cc1251-3
36. Mr. Shepherd

asked the Minister of Transport if he will state the results of the experiments in persuading motorists to use dipped headlights in the less well-lit urban areas.

47. Mr. Cleaver

asked the Minister of Transport what action he will take in view of the success which has attended the dipped headlights experiment in Birmingham.

54. Mr. David James

asked the Minister of Transport whether, in view of the success of local schemes, he will consider making the use of dipped headlights mandatory in all street-lit areas.

Vice-Admiral Hughes Hallett

Dipped headlight experiments are being conducted in various parts of the country and will continue until the end of March. In Birmingham, there has been a welcome reduction in the number of road accidents this winter compared with last. It is, however, too early to say in what way and to what extent the experiment there has been a contributory factor. The results of this experiment will be fully studied by the Road Research Laboratory.

Mr. Shepherd

Will my hon. and gallant Friend take some early steps to see how far he can encourage the use of dipped headlights in urban districts, and will he particularly look at the British Standards specification for the optical beam and consider the use of yellow headlights as well?

Vice-Admiral Hughes Hallett

We shall certainly look at both those points.

Mr. Cleaver

Is my hon. and gallant Friend aware that this voluntary experiment in Birmingham reduced accidents by 18½ per cent. and fatalities by 56 per cent.? If he wants further evidence of the success of this campaign, is he prepared to make this practice compulsory in the City of Birmingham and, if possible, over a wider area?

Vice-Admiral Hughes Hallett

I have seen statements making the claims which my hon. Friend has repeated, but the view of the Road Research Laboratory is that they are premature until a much more careful analysis has been carried out. Therefore, they may be misleading.

Mr. Strauss

Will the Parliamentary Secretary try to make it known as widely as possible that this is an important experiment which can lead to useful results and may help to prevent rude remarks such as those made by drivers when they pass a car with dipped headlights in a town.

Vice-Admiral Hughes Hallett

I agree.

Mr. Gower

Is not the trouble that the headlights of so many cars when dipped look as bright as when they are not dipped?

Vice-Admiral Hughes Hallett

That may be so.

Mr. Bowles

I think that in the United States some cars are made with lights which dip automatically on the car meeting another lamp or light. Has the Parliamentary Secretary heard of those experiments, and, if so. has he considered them?

Vice-Admiral Hughes Hallett

I cannot say that I have heard of them, but I will certainly look into the matter.

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