HC Deb 03 April 1974 vol 871 cc1249-50
18. Mr. Leslie Huckfield

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will take steps to introduce a code of practice with a view to improved coordination between the broadcasting and police authorities and the motoring associations in the transmission of motorway accident and fog information; and whether he will make a statement.

Mr. Mulley

There are already close relations between these three parties. I shall review the arrangements in conjunction with the report of the tragic accidents on the M1 on 13th March last.

Mr. Huckfield

Will my right hon. Friend first repudiate the suggestion put forward by the RAC—possibly the silliest suggestion it has ever made—that it was the 50 m.p.h speed limit that was responsible for this last pile-up? Is he satisfied that the present system of co-ordination between the broadcasting authorities, the police and the motoring organisations does the maximum not only to get information to the motoring public about where the fog is but what they ought to do when they are in it?

Mr. Mulley

I think that it would be asking a little too much for the broadcasting authorities to give detailed driving instructions. I hope that all motorists, before they go on the road, whether there is fog or not, will acquaint themselves with the necessary steps to take and, most important, not drive at 50 mph when it has been broadcast on the radio, well before an accident, that there is only 25 yards' visibility on that section of the road.

Mrs. Chalker

Will the right hon. Gentleman consider the possibility of installing additional hazard warning systems for this eventuality, which so often follows on motorways with so little warning? Little seems to be being done. Will the right hon. Gentleman, having considered it, make a statement to the House?

Mr. Mulley

I do not think that the problem is a lack of new devices. It is a case of extending the already well-developed computer-controlled system. I have been in my office for only a month, so I cannot take full responsibility for all the deficiencies in the transport system as I find it, but I shall certainly do what I can to satisfy the hon. Lady on the matter she has raised.

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