HC Deb 12 March 1990 vol 169 c12
12. Mr. Squire

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on the progress achieved in fitting speed limiters to coaches.

Mr. Atkins

The programme for fitting speed limiters to all coaches first used in 1974 or later will be completed by 31 March next year. Speed limiters should by now be fitted to most modern coaches.

Mr. Squire

As my hon. Friend knows, I welcome this safety measure. Is he aware of reports suggesting that many coach operators have been slow to fit speed limiters, which will be a legal requirement from the end of this month for many coaches? Will he take this opportunity to repeat that from the Dispatch Box? Will he also look into the possibility of his Department advising various coach operators that they face legal penalties if they do not comply?

Mr. Atkins

I am grateful to my hon. Friend who has rightly often raised this matter. I have no evidence that the campaign of enforcement is being delayed. If he has evidence to that effect, I should be grateful to hear it. I am delighted to accept his offer to re-emphasise to those on both sides of the House who are interested the importance of speed limiters to coaches in that they can save lives and prevent unnecessary accidents.

Mr. Foulkes

Has the Minister also considered the introduction of compulsory spray-suppressant mud flaps for coaches and lorries because of the great danger created to other motorists by the spray from heavy lorries on the on the motorways? Such spray is one of the greatest dangers on motorways at present.

Mr. Atkins

The hon. Gentleman is right and that concern has been expressed to me on numerous occasions. We are having discussions with the European Community and, in those circumstances, the hon. Gentleman's views and the many suggestions from hon. Members on both sides of the House will be taken into account.