HC Deb 26 April 1972 vol 835 cc1521-2
9. Mr. William Price

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment how many people have been killed in accidents on the M1 since its opening.

The Under-Secretary of State for the Environment (Mr. Eldon Griffiths)

Five hundred and sixty-three, up to the end of November, 1971.

Mr. Price

Is that not an appalling figure despite all that has been done by successive Ministers of Transport over many years to improve motorway safety? Is there anything further that the Ministry can do, or have we to rely upon the good sense of the majority to get across the antics of the maniac minority?

Mr. Griffiths

Certainly it is appalling that so many lives should be lost on the roads, and certainly, too, my right hon. Friend is doing a very great deal to assist through his actions in respect of the motor car, the road, signalling and the rest; but in the end it is a matter of drivers driving sensibly in their own self interest.

Mr. Montgomery

Would my hon. Friend agree that the death toll on the motorways can perhaps be reduced when we bring in the new national motorway signalling system? Could he give an indication of when we can expect this system to be brought in?

Mr. Griffiths

Yes. A considerable length of the system already is working, and more will be brought in as rapidly as possible.

Mr. Rankin

Does the hon. Gentleman recollect that at my request he has introduced police controls on the New Kent Road and that the result has been very largely to increase driving and personal safety? Does he not realise that on the motorways something similar could be done? There has to be control of speed because that is the cause of death on the roads. Will the Minister try to introduce a similar system on the motorways?

Mr. Griffiths

My right hon. Friend does his utmost within his resources to prevent people from driving like maniacs, but the plain fact of the matter is that with so many vehicles on the roads nowadays, and with the stretching of the resources of the police, the main responsibility for road safety must rest with drivers and pedestrians themselves.