HC Deb 12 March 1990 vol 169 cc6-7
6. Mr. Gregory

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what representations he has received concerning mandatory reversing warning devices for all goods vehicles; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Atkins

Ministers received five letters on this subject in 1989, and one letter of complaint about noise nuisance from reversing alarms. We have received no representations in 1990. As my hon. Friend will be aware, mandatory fitting of alarms would require agreement from the EEC.

Mr. Gregory

I thank my hon. Friend for those comments. Is he as concerned as I am about the number of accidents involving vehicles without reversing devices? Each year, 2,000 accidents are a direct result of pedestrians coming into contact with vehicles that have not been fitted with such bleepers. Is my hon. Friend particularly concerned about schoolchildren, as lorries without reversing alarms may enter school grounds?

Mr. Atkins

Of course, I am worried about anything that may cause an accident or death. Therefore, I shall take action if I believe it to be necessary. The records demonstrate that, over the past 10 years, there have been about 50 fatal accidents involving vehicles without reversing alarms. That is a small proportion, but it is clearly too high.

My hon. Friend understands the situation pretty well. He will know that I must do my best to encourage drivers of vehicles to ensure that they take extra care as befits their standard of driving and the highway code and also that they take necessary care when making manoeuvres associated with reversing vehicles on streets.