HC Deb 28 July 1965 vol 717 cc464-5
32. Mr. Boston

asked the Minister of Transport if he is aware that many motorists fail to dip their headlights when approaching oncoming traffic; and if he will take further steps to see that they do so.

Mr. Swingler

The law already provides penalties for driving without reasonable consideration for other users of the road. We do not consider that there is need for legislation making failure co dip headlights when meeting another vehicle a specific offence. The Highway Code provides that when meeting other vehicles drivers should dip their headlights and should slow down or stop if they are dazzled.

Mr. Boston

Will my hon. Friend bear in mind that a substantial number of drivers using the motorways fail to dip their headlights and that perhaps some research is needed in this direction? Will he also bear in mind that a substantial minority of motorists, when approaching oncoming vehicles, undip their lights in the split section before the vehicles pass and this makes a great hazard? Will he look into this matter and see whether or not a publicity campaign in association with the motoring organisations is needed?

Mr. Swingler

Yes. We recognise that this is a problem on the motorways. That is why we are giving urgent consideration to anti-dazzle devices.

Mr. Thorpe

Does the right hon. Gentleman agree that one of the hazards of undipped lights would be substantially removed if in future all lights were fitted with yellow bulbs, as is done so widely on the Continent?

Mr. Bossom

Will the Minister stop all driving on sidelights, especially in towns and cities?

Mr. Swingler

The matters raised in that supplementary question and in the previous supplementary question are being discussed now with the motor manufacturers in relation to the design of lights. The hon. Gentleman will be well aware that there are so many variations of conditions in towns, according to the standard of lighting which has been established—or which, as is true in some cases, has not been established at all—that it is extremely difficult for us to generalise and lay down regulations on the subject. Nevertheless, we hope to be able to give more guidance shortly.