HC Deb 08 May 1968 vol 764 cc408-9
32. Sir J. Langford-Holt

asked the Minister of Transport what factors have caused the decline of road accidents per 1,000 vehicles involving death from 3.2 in 1930 to 0.5 in 1967.

Mr. Marsh

The fact that road deaths have decreased in comparison with vehicle population may be attributed to a large number of factors, including the decline in the use of two-wheeled vehicles, improved roads and the whole range of road safety measures.

Sir J. Langford-Holt

The figures having been reduced to one-sixth of the previous level, is it not high time that the motorist was for a change given some credit for doing something good instead of always being penalised and threatened?

Mr. Marsh

I would not want to be in the position of either penalising or threatening motorists, and there is considerable evidence to show that the motorist is well aware of the responsibilities he has to himself and to others. It is, of course, important to put this matter in its right context and I agree that the evidence available at present shows that we are getting a better performance from the point of view of road accidents.

Mr. Gresham Cooke

Apart from the standard of driving, which appears to be steadily improving year by year, has the Minister noticed the recent reports of the Metropolitan Police, in which satisfaction is expressed with the increased safety that has been brought about by traffic engineering improvements in the Metropolitan area, which have had the effect of bringing about an improvement of perhaps 30 per cent. in terms of road accidents?

Mr. Marsh

Certainly that is a contributory factor. However, we must remember that the present accident rate is appallingly high in this country. Anything more that we can do to help to bring down the rate it is right for us to do.