HC Deb 15 November 1967 vol 754 cc418-20
37. Mr. Lubbock

asked the Minister of Transport if she will give the number of persons killed and seriously injured, respectively, from the day the Road Safety Act, 1967, came into force until the latest convenient date; and the comparable figures for the same period in 1966.

83. Sir G. Sinclair

asked the Minister of Transport how many accidents of each main category there were in the month following the coming into force of the breathalyser tests as compared with the same period of last year; and how many of these she attributes to drink.

The Minister of Transport (Mrs. Barbara Castle)

I hope to publish October figures before Christmas. I do not wish to anticipate them by giving statistics for very short periods or for particular areas, as limited samples are so likely to be affected by random factors.

Mr. Lubbock

When the figures are available, is it not almost certain that they will show that there has been a reduction in the number of deaths and that the carnage on our roads has been reduced by the Road Safety Act? Will the Minister consider counteracting the campaign being waged against certain provisions in the Act by vested interests and issue a leaflet to the public describing the tests to be made and inviting further co-operation?

Mrs. Castle

With regard to the hon. Gentleman's first point, I do not want to anticipate the outcome of our further collections of the October figures because they have not all come in yet, and then we shall have to relate them to traffic and analyse them. I have always tried to bring as scientific an approach as I can to road safety. Therefore, I would not wish to be drawn into any anticipation of the evidence. With regard to the rest of the hon. Gentleman's supplementary Question—[HON. MEMBERS: "Too long."] I am aware that there are some efforts to organise opposition to this—[Interruption.]—but I am fortified by the conviction that the majority of people in the country support the measures which we have taken.

Mr. John Lee

Is my right hon. Friend aware that she has the support of the whole of this side of the House in the new Road Safety Regulations?

Mrs. Castle

Yes, and I am a little curious to know at this stage what is the attitude of hon. Gentlemen opposite—[Interruption.] After all, they did not in the House oppose the creation of the new offence. They did not in this House oppose—

Sir W. Bromley-Davenport

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. With the greatest of respect, and always with that respect, without wishing to anticipate any decision about your attitude, you yourself not being—

Mr. Speaker

Order. The hon. Gentleman must come to his point of order.

Sir W. Bromley-Davenport

Mr. Speaker, was that answer strictly in order right the way through?

Mr. Speaker

If it had not been the Chair would have called attention to it. Mrs. Castle.

Mrs. Castle

I was saying that hon. Gentlemen opposite, who supported the legislation—[HON. MEMBERS: "Answer."] Now they do not want to be confronted with their own decision. But they supported the creation of the new offence, and they supported the introduction of the breath test—[Interruption.] I am well aware that hon. Gentlemen opposite are now being approached by the licensed victuallers to oppose it —[Interruption.]—and I await with interest a declaration of their attitude at the present time.

Mr. Speaker

Order. Answers ought to be reasonably brief.

Mr. Manuel

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Might I put it to you, with respect, that the reason why my right hon. Friend appeared to take a long time was that she was impeded repeatedly by noise and obstruction from the other side of the House and, as a result, her answer took longer than it would have done otherwise?

Mr. Speaker

The Chair was aware of that.

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