HC Deb 10 March 1965 vol 708 cc407-8
24. Sir G. Wills

asked the Minister of Transport when the use of direction indicators on all vehicles will be made compulsory; and if he will make a statement.

97. Mr. Ennals

asked the Minister of Transport when the use of direction indicators on all vehicles will be made compulsory.

Mr. Swingler

Most four-wheeled vehicles are now fitted with some form of direction indicator. New standards have been set by Regulation for indicators fitted to vehicles first registered after next August. We shall consider compulsory fitment when the effectiveness of these standards has been confirmed.

Sir G. Wills

Will not the hon. Gentleman hasten these decisions as much as he can, bearing in mind the additional road safety which traffic indicators encourage, and also bearing in mind that this matter has for years past already been gone into by the last Government, who made great progress with its investigation?

Mr. Swingler

We shall hasten it as much as possible, but we want to get a general agreement on enforcement of standardisation of construction of indicators. As soon as that has been reached and confirmed we intend to introduce compulsory equipment.

Mr. Ennals

May I ask the Minister whether he is aware how much many of us welcome the announcement which he has made and his serious approach to this problem? Will consideration be given to the confusion often caused by indicators which are very similar to the signs for brakes, and will he see that conformity also includes the colouring as well as the size of the indicators?

Mr. Swingler

Yes, that is the intention, to get standardisation both of colour and size, but of course, my hon. Friend will realise that there are at present many different types in use and this is not a process which can be introduced overnight. As soon as standardisation is agreed upon compulsory equipment will be introduced.

Mr. Gower

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that a minority of these indicators are far too bright and that they disconcert drivers following in cars behind and are liable to cause accidents? Will he, therefore, consider that aspect of the question, too?

Mr. Swingler

Yes. I think the hon. Gentleman may have got something there. This is something which has had to be gone into very carefully. Precisely because there is still some uncertainty about the amount of standardisation, we are moving in these two stages, to establish standardised fitments and types, and then to introduce compulsory equipment.

Mr. Hector Hughes

Does my hon. Friend realise that traffic indicators are important not only to drivers but also to pedestrians, particularly at pedestrian crossings and at crossroads, and that at present pedestrians very often have no indication what a driver of a car may do? Many accidents have resulted because pedestrians have had no such indication. Will my hon. Friend take that aspect into account?

Mr. Swingler

What my hon. and learned Friend has said is the strongest possible argument for standardisation, so that pedestrians will know exactly what the signals mean.