HC Deb 01 July 1964 vol 697 cc1340-1
18. Mr. Channon

asked the Minister of Transport if he will now propose legislation to make the fitting of seat belts in all new cars compulsory.

Mr. Galbraith

I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply given to my hon. Friend the Member for Belfast, South (Mr. Pounder) on 24th June.

Mr. Channon

Would not my hon. Friend agree that all the evidence goes to show that when safety belts are worn the effect of accidents is very much less severe than when they are not worn? Does he not agree that in the end we shall have to come to some system like this? Would it not be a good idea to see that at least all new cars are fitted with safety belts?

Mr. Galbraith

My hon. Friend is perfectly right when he says that the effect of accidents is reduced very substantially by the use of seat belts, but the first thing to do is to wait until the British Standards Institute has prepared a specification for anchorage points, because until this is done—and my right hon. Friend expects to hear very shortly from the Institute—there would be no purpose in doing what my hon. Friend suggests.

Mr. Strauss

How long is it since the request went to the British Standards Institute to produce a design of this sort? Is it not some years ago that the Minister asked the Institute to design some anchorage the mechanism of which would be really effective?

Mr. Galbraith

It is a very difficult matter, as I am sure the right hon. Member appreciates, to get an anchorage point suitable for all types of motor cars, but my right hon. Friend is expecting to hear from the Institute within the next month.

Mr. Costain

To help the motorist appreciate the effect of safety belts, will the Minister when issuing statistics of fatal accidents state those in which safety belts were not used?

Mr. Galbraith

That is certainly something which my right hon. Friend will consider.