HC Deb 10 March 1965 vol 708 cc401-3
32. Mr. Driberg

asked the Minister of Transport to what extent the number of road accidents at specially dangerous points has been reduced in recent years by the use of non-skid road surfaces; if he will publish in HANSARD a statistical table illustrating such reduction; and what research is being done to ascertain the most effective of these techniques.

Mr. Swingler

All approved road surfacing materials are designed to be resistant to skidding. Studies carried out by the Road Research Laboratory at selected dangerous sites show a marked reduction in the number of skidding accidents after resurfacing. I am circulating details in the OFFICIAL REPORT. Research is continuously in progress to achieve further improvements in the design of road surfaces.

Mr. Driberg

Does my hon. Friend accept that the most effective of these surfaces may not necessarily be the cheapest to lay down, but may be cheaper in the long run because it needs less maintenance and repair? Will he reconsider this point, because I do not think that it is entirely accepted by his Ministry, as yet?

Mr. Swingler

This is one of the difficult and complicated matters which we have to look at both from the economic and technological point of view. The Road Research Laboratory has been tackling this actively in order to give us advice, and we shall certainly take into account the point raised by my hon. Friend.

Mr. Popplewell

Will my hon. Friend consider holding an investigation into the causes of accidents, as opposed to merely relying on evidence given in police court proceedings? Will he consider holding investigations into road accidents, in the same way as his inspectors hold inquiries into rail accidents? Does not my hon. Friend think that the time has come when there should be an investigation into road accidents, rather than merely relying on the evidence of the police authorities?

Mr. Swingler

This further investigation is going on, but my hon. Friend will appreciate that there is a considerable amount of trouble and labour involved in accumulating all the details of the unfortunately numerous accidents which occur. In fact, research is being extended all the time, and we intend to give all the support that we can to the Road Research Laboratory in its studies.

Mr. William Yates

Will the hon. Gentleman be kind enough to consult his right hon. Friends concerning legislation on this point? After all, the law in respect of railway accidents is different.

Mr. Swingler

Certainly we shall have consultations about that, but before we can consider any legislation, we must arrive at a technical solution to the problem. Although many experiments have been carried out, we cannot say that we have arrived at any final solution to the technical problems involved.

Accidents in period before treatment Accidents in period after treatment
Total Average number per year per site Total Average number per year per site
Accidents involving skidding on wet roads 723 6 130* 1
All accidents on wet roads 1,025 8 321 2
Period covered 2years 2 months 2years 8 months
* This table includes results for all the sites known to the Laboratory during the period covered by the observations. At eight sites the skidding resistance of the road decreased to a low value again in less than two years after treatment: 68 of the skidding accidents included in the above table which occurred after treatment were at these eight sites.
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