HC Deb 15 January 1975 vol 884 cc446-7
22. Mr. Hannam

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will now remove the exemptions which have been granted to exclude motor invalid tricycles from the safety requirements of the Motor Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations, in view of their high rate of injury accidents in comparison to small four-wheeled cars; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Mulley

No, Sir. Motor invalid tricycles are subject to all the provisions of the Motor Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations except the requirement to fit a speedometer in the case of tricycles weighing less than 5 cwt., and the provisions about collapsible steering columns in the case of tricycles steered by a tiller.

Mr. Hannam

Does not the Minister agree that all the evidence, and even the latest report from his research laboratory, points to the inherent danger of three-wheeled vehicles? When will the Government carry out the first stages of the plan recommended by Baroness Sharp to phase out tricycles and introduce four-wheeled vehicles?

Mr. Mulley

With respect, that is a rather different question. The question of policy on these vehicles is one for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Social Services. It could not be met by any change in the Motor Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations.

Mr. David Steel

The Minister will accept that the three-wheeled vehicles are not subject to the MOT test, as other vehicles are. Will he also accept that there is evidence that those who use these vehicles away from urban centres where they can be readily serviced are landing the taxpayer, let alone themselves, with very large bills as compared with the cost of the possible provision of standard four-wheeled minis with hand controls?

Mr. Mulley

I am aware, though it is not a matter for me, that there is a preference for four-wheeled rather than three-wheeled vehicles. The vehicles which are maintained by the Department of Health and Social Security are not subject to the MOT test, because that would be a total waste of resources. But where they are privately owned and not maintained by that Department, like any other vehicle they are subject to the test.