HC Deb 20 July 1987 vol 120 cc1-3
1. Mr. Wardle

asked the Secretary of State for Transport what are his future plans for road safety publicity.

The Secretary of State for Transport (Mr. Paul Channon)

A top priority is to reduce the number of road casualties. To do so we need the most effective mix and use of measures, including publicity. For this reason, an interdepartmental review of road safety was set up. This looked, among other things, at the role of road safety publicity in future. A copy of the review is in the Library. I shall be circulating it more widely to interested organisations next week.

Mr. Wardle

I am grateful to my right hon. Friend for that reply. Is he satisfied that enough is being done to bring down the number of road casualties?

Mr. Channon

We shall never be satisfied, and we must not be complacent. but at the moment the figures are extremely encouraging. The latest figures for the first quarter of 1987, compared with the first quarter last year, show that deaths are down by 12 per cent., serious injuries are down by 13 per cent., and the casualty rate per mile is down by 13 per cent. That is very good news. It is not good enough, but it is good news.

Mr. Higgins

Does my right hon. Friend recall that some time ago his Department held a "Think Bike" publicity campaign directed at motorists? In view of the appalling standard of motor cycle riding in London, which means that motor cyclists often disregard central barriers and squeeze in between cars and barriers, will my right hon. Friend consider whether a similar advertising campaign should be directed at motor cyclists, to seek to ensure better safety records?

Mr. Channon

I shall certainly consider what my right hon. Friend has said. It is a very interesting idea. In fact, a set of leaflets on motor cycling and safety is to be launched this week as part of the Cheshire motor cycling day, which should be useful to those taking up motory cycle riding. I shall bear in mind what my right hon. Friend has suggested.

Mr. Tony Banks

Has the Secretary of State any information about the number of road accidents caused by people using car telephones? Will he consider banning the use of hand-held car telephones? Clearly they must be a contributory factor in road accidents. I should be very interested to know the thinking of the Secretary of State on this matter.

Mr. Channon

I do not think that we have any figures directly related to the number of people using car telephones when accidents occur. However, it is obviously extremely dangerous to use a car telephone while driving, and the police take a very serious view of the matter. Furthermore, I should have thought that anyone who could afford a car telephone could afford a remote microphone.

Sir Philip Goodhart

Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind the recommendation of the Select Committee on Transport that road safety publicity would be much improved if his Department would improve the collection and publicity of road accident statistics?

Mr. Channon

Yes, Sir. I shall certainly do that. I have announced some road statistics today and I hope my hon. Friend will study the interdepartmental review. I should very much welcome his views on it.