HC Deb 31 July 1963 vol 682 c420
14. Mr. Longden

asked the Minister of Transport if he will take steps to define more clearly the offence of racing on the highway, which, if proved, causes automatic disqualification for at least one year.

Mr. Marples

This offence, with the penalty of obligatory disqualification, has been on the Statute Book since 1930 and I am not aware that any practical difficulty arises over its definition.

Mr. Longden

My right hon. Friend will agree, will he not, that when the motorist is faced with such a maze of rules and regulations it is necessary that they should be crystal clear? I do not know what racing on the highway means. Does it mean racing against some other vehicle?

Mr. Marples

My hon. Friend is very well versed in legal matters. The offence as described in the Act is to promote or take part in a race or trial of speed between motor vehicles on a public highway and only the courts can interpret the law. This offence is very rare indeed. It is very difficult to prove, and the police would normally prosecute a person who might be said to be racing—I think that in the modern jargon they are called "ton-up boys"—for dangerous driving, but this has been with us since 1930, and it is one of the things that cannot be laid at my door.