HL Deb 19 May 1925 vol 61 cc336-51

LORD RATHCREEDAN had given Notice to ask His Majesty's Government whether, with a view to preventing the ever increasing damage to our roads and the consequential burden on the ratepayers, they will consider the advisability of enforcing the existing Regulations as regards heavy traffic by instructing the police forces throughout the country to resort to all legitimate means for the apprehension and prosecution of drivers of heavy vehicles who exceed the speed limit; and whether they will issue instructions concurrently to the magistracy to deal uniformly with all offenders in this respect; and to move for Papers.

The noble Lord said: My Lords, I have placed this Question upon the Paper because when, some time ago, I dealt with the road question I stated that I was not in a position to offer any suggestion whereby the Government could sec that the drivers of heavy vehicles did not exceed the speed limit. Since then I have made certain inquiries, and I think I am now in a position to state how this can be accomplished. When I dealt with the matter some time ago the noble Viscount, the First Commissioner of Works, who spoke in reply, stated that it was the Government's intention to introduce a measure dealing with the entire road question as soon as possible. I know from long experience that in matters of this kind "as soon as possible" may possibly mean a very long time, and in any case, even if the Government does introduce legislation, it would take at least two years before that legislation is in operation. Therefore I suggest something that will prevent the continued destruction of roads, on the one hand, and the expenditure of the ratepayers' money, on the other.

Let me give an illustration. Not many weeks ago, before a county bench, three drivers of heavy vehicles were prosecuted for exceeding the speed limit over a carefully measured distance of some two miles. When the bench inquired from the inspector of police whether other vehicles did not pass over that measured distance at a speed exceeding the speed limit, he replied: "Many, but it is not our custom to prosecute unless the speed limit is exceeded by fifty per cent." What a farce! The whole question of the speed limit was considered from every point of view and at great length in another place, and afterwards came to your Lordships' House, where it received due consideration. Your Lordships were of opinion that twelve miles should be the maximum speed for these heavy vehicles. Then we find that the executive, whose duty it is to carry out the law, decide not as your Lordships decided that twelve miles should be the limit, but that eighteen miles should be the limit. In the three eases I have mentioned it ranged from eighteen miles to twenty-four miles.

What takes place before many benches of magistrates when cases of this kind come before them is that, if they have reason to believe that the fine will not be paid by the employer but will fall on the driver then, if the driver is a man of good character with a clean sheet, or one who has not been up before for exceeding the speed limit, they, naturally moved by humanitarian motives, impose a comparatively small fine and spread the payment of the fine over a certain number of weeks. If the law of the land is to be carried out, this system must be altered. In the first place, the police force throughout the country should receive instructions to use every means in their power to bring to justice those who exceed the speed limit, and I think it would not be un- desirable if an intimation was given to magistrates that it was advisable, in the interests of the public as well as of the roads, that one uniform fine, and a heavy fine, should be imposed upon the drivers. I know it will be said, seeing that the law has been so laxly administered for so many years: Will it not come very hard upon the proprietors and drivers of these heavy vehicles if it suddenly becomes more stringent? Certainly; but it will not be half so great a grievance as the grievance under which ratepayers and the public generally have been forced to suffer.

I know it can be urged that the main cause of the destruction of our roads is due, not altogether to the speed limit, but to the faulty mechanical construction of these vehicles and the character of the tyres with which they are fitted. But experts—and we have in this House certain experts; the noble Lord, Lord Montagu of Beaulieu, and Earl Russell, will, I am confident, support me in this—the road surveyors throughout the country are of opinion that, although the greater part of the destruction is caused by the mechanical construction of the vehicles and the heavy tyres, yet if these vehicles were driven at a proper speed the amount of the destruction to the roads would be comparatively small.

Again, it may be asked: Why deal with these heavy vehicles only? How about the light motors that constantly exceed the speed limit? That is not the question. I am dealing with the road question, and experts will confirm me when I say that these light motor vehicles with pneumatic tyres take practically nothing out of the roads, or at any rate very little. It may be urged that it is hard on those who own these heavy vehicles, and the drivers of them, to be suddenly faced with what practically amounts to an alteration in the law. I respectfully suggest to the Government that they have the means of obviating that. There is no reason why it should not be made known to all whom it may concern, because the Government have all the means at their disposal. They have the public Press, the wireless, the Post Office, the police and the church doors; and they can, within a very limited time, make it abundantly clear to all concerned that they must take those steps. It will be said: How about the trade of the country? Will not this affect the trade of the country? Will not the proprietors of these heavy vehicles be obliged to confer with their drivers and alter their routes, or shorten their routes, or decrease the number of deliveries which they call upon their drivers to carry out during a day? Well, that is no hardship to them provided they get sufficient notice, seeing that up to the present they have been battening for years on the ratepayers of the country.

It may be said I am suggesting that the Government should unduly interfere with the executive, the police on the one hand and the magistracy on the other. I am quite sure that the police would welcome definite instructions upon this point, and I believe that no bench of magistrates would take umbrage if the Government simply pointed out that in the interests of the country at large, and more especially in the interests of the ratepayers, the speed limit should be upheld—in other words, that the law of the land should be carried out. I hope I have made my position clear. It is this, that until the legislation that is promised becomes operative, and that cannot be for a few years yet, justice should be done to the ratepayers of the country, and, let me add, to the owners of property lying alongside our roads which is being much damaged by these heavy vehicles proceeding at a rapid speed. In addition, in order to be perfectly fair towards the trade of the country and the proprietors of heavy vehicles, they should have a certain number of weeks' notice in order to make the necessary arrangements, so that, they may be in a position to carry out what is the law of the land. I beg to move.


My Lords, I have heard with considerable interest the remarks of the noble Lord who raised this subject of a speed limit for heavy vehicles. It is a subject which has come before your Lordships' House and another place on a great many occasions since 1903, when the present Motor Car Act came into force. As part author of that Act, I may tell your Lordships that it was originally contemplated that there should be no speed limit at all. The Bill was introduced into your Lordships' House without any such provision, the speed limit being inserted at a later date in the House of Commons. In fact, the Bill as originally drafted relied for its discipline in regard to dangerous driving upon Clause 1, which enforced a comparatively heavy penalty for that offence. I still consider that dangerous driving is probably the best test, both in the interests of the public and in the interests of the drivers of motor vehicles.

While the noble Lord was speaking I could not help reflecting that all of us in this House, perhaps even including the right rev. Prelates on my left, are habitual offenders in regard to the speed limit. I doubt whether many of us could honestly say that we have not at some time—very likely on this very day on the way to this House—exceeded the speed limit of twenty miles an hour. It is equally clear that you cannot especially penalise the drivers of heavy vehicles, or, as the noble Lord would prefer to put it, enforce the speed limit against heavy vehicles and refrain from doing so against the lighter vehicles which we all use. The cry would immediately be raised that the law was being enforced unduly against only one class of traffic, for this would manifestly be an unjust thing to do.

When considering this question we must consider it as a whole. A good deal has been said by the noble Lord about the damage done by these heavy vehicles. I sympathise with that complaint, as, no doubt, do many of your Lordships. I could quote figures, though it would take too long to do so to-day, which would show your Lordships that heavy vehicles do a great deal more damage to our roads than is generally supposed. Experiments have been carried out recently in America which show that the impact, as it is called, of heavy vehicles running at high speeds is sometimes three times as much as their weight. In other words, a vehicle weighing ten tons may strike an uneven part of the road with a blow equivalent to that of thirty tons' weight. It follows that, while first-class and possibly second-class roads can bear that kind of blow, third-class or unclassified roads are gradually becoming unfit to carry this kind of traffic. In my opinion it is the third-class and unclassified roads that are going to be the big problem in the future.

With regard to the noble Lord's observations concerning heavy vehicles, it is quite true, as I know from following behind them, that they do exceed the speed limit a great deal too much. I have often thought that the police would be better advised in taking up cases against these destroyers of roads than in prosecuting the owners of light cars, such as the Ford, the Morris Oxford, and similar types of runabout, for exceeding the speed limit of twenty miles an hour, especially in view of the fact that these smaller vehicles do practically no damage to the roads and as a rule, are driven very reasonably.

Anybody who looks into the future will realise that there is every reason in the world why we should have a change of law. The present state of the law is entirely unsatisfactory. The noble Viscount who sits upon the Woolsack and my noble friend Lord Darling will agree with me when I say that there is nothing worse than a law which is not enforced and is brought into ridicule. That is exactly the present position of the speed limit. Many years ago, when the Bill was going through the House of Commons, I had a conversation with the noble Earl, Lord Balfour—I do not know if he will recollect it—and he made what I thought was a very shrewd observation. I pointed out that it was ridiculous, even in those days, twenty years ago, to lay down specific limits. He said that he did not think that in the long run they would be enforced, and I think he added the phrase "solvitur risu." He was perfectly right, for the speed limit has been laughed out of court. There are many parts of the country where the speed limit is never enforced, and. except in relation to damage to the roads, the sooner it disappears the better.

Possibly your Lordships do not know that these heavy vehicles—I am speaking now from a road engineer's point of view—do 90 per cent. of the damage to our roads, though last year they paid only about £6,000,000 out of the £15,000,000 raised by the taxation of motor cars. In other words, the vehicles which did the least damage paid the greater part of the motor taxation. This is obviously inequitable, and I think that the heavy vehicles are not at present paying their fair share. But these things are altering. Already, at Scotland Yard, a public service vehicle has been passed within the last few days with pneumatic tyres. Any of your Lordships who have been in France or the United States lately will know that there is a very strong trend towards fitting all heavy vehicles with pneumatic tyres. Your Lordships may have seen at the Motor Show and other places pneumatic tyres with a thickness of some eight inches or more. The general tendency all over the world is to do away with the solid tyre and to take to the pneumatic tyre, and, if this development is a success, as I believe it will be, very much less damage will be done to our roads by these large vehicles. The owners of them will gain in lessened upkeep of chassis and engine, while we ratepayers will save in repairs to our roads. We ought not therefore to approach this question in too great haste.

Another development, which some of us have been following rather carefully, is the tendency to replace four-wheeled heavy vehicles by six-wheeled heavy vehicles. There is a lorry known as the Scammel, which has six wheels. We are following exactly the same mechanical history as that of the railways, passing from four wheels to six, and I do not doubt that before long we shall have eight wheels, or even more.

There is one proposed action by the Ministry of Transport with regard to this question against which I should like to take an early opportunity of protesting I hear on very good authority that in the new Government Bill dealing with this question an increase of axle weight is to be allowed from eight tons, which is the present maximum, to ten tons. I only tell your Lordships the truth when I assure you that eight tons is quite a heavy enough weight to put on one axle—in fact, it is too much—and to increase it by two tons more would be detrimental in a very high degree to the maintenance of our roads. I hope that the Government, when they consider this question, will think over that point very seriously.

As the noble Lord said, it is very necessary that the Government should deal with this question before long. The law is in a chaotic state, both as regards roads and as regards transport. Nobody knows exactly where he is, and I believe that there are nearly forty Acts of Parliament dealing with locomotion on roads now on the Statute Book. These need to be codified in relation to the conditions of modern transport with which we now have to deal, and it is very hard for those of us who have to deal with those cases as magistrates, firstly to ascertain the facts and, secondly, to take a rightful decision. I do not think, speaking for myself at any rate, that we should welcome very much instructions from the Home Office to prosecute this or that class of person. Nor should we be enamoured of a circular which suggested that we were to enforce part of the law against a certain class of person, and let the rest of the law remain unenforced. I do not think that would be a very good circular to send round to the various benches of magistrates, and I myself should take very little notice of it. I understand that the noble Lord opposite wished to emphasise the great damage to the roads done by heavy vehicles. There I agree with him, but I cannot agree with him in circularising the benches and suggesting that they should enforce one part of the law only. I think that is unworkable.

There is no doubt that the expenditure of rates on the roads is becoming a very serious matter. We are not spending quite so much as we were a year or so ago, when it amounted to as much as £1,000,000 a week, but last year the total expenditure was about £50,000,000, of which £15,000,000 was provided by motor taxes and £35,000,000 from the rates. Before the War the amount provided by the rates was £18,000,000, and so the ratepayer is paying double what he was paying before the War, but, having regard to the increased cost, the actual work being done, on the roads is about the same. The new surfaces which you are giving to the roads nowadays, however, last very much longer, and the arterial roads which are now being put down ought to have from twelve to fifteen years' life at least, and we may look forward to a diminution in the maintenance cost. There is no doubt, however, that £35,000,000 a year is a serious burden upon the rates. I have always felt that it is a fault in our rating system for these national services to fall upon the rates, and that we must deal with that question, rather than deal with the matter piecemeal and say that this or that road shall be restricted to this or that traffic.

The worst hardship of all occurs in some of the districts which are sparsely populated, and which have a very low rateable value. That applies in some of the Scotch counties, but it also applies outside Scotland. I know of a small district outside Halifax, and I might also instance my own district in the New Forest, where a penny in the £ only raises a very small sum. The present system gives rise to great inequalities, because you may have rich counties like Lancashire or Surrey, with a rate of 7d. or less, raising a very large sum for the roads, whereas a county like Hereford with a 3s. 6d. rate hardly raises anything at all. All those inequalities should be remedied, but I think what is wanted is a comprehensive inquiry into these matters by some competent body, such as a Royal Commission on the whole question of the maintenance of the highways, and the use of them by vehicles. It is being done departmentally, but I think that that is not on a sufficiently broad basis. I can assure the noble Lord that the hardship of inequality is recognised all over the country, and I hope that before long the Government may do something to remedy it. One other remark and I have finished. I may say that this question of speed limit is not confined to one class of vehicles only. It is constantly exceeded by tramcars and other vehicles, and if you are going to deal with the matter properly you must do so comprehensively.


My Lords, so far as the speed limit of twenty miles an hour for light motor cars is concerned, in practice it has been laughed out of court, but it has been a rather expensive one for some of the early motorists. It is not many years since I was fined for exceeding the limit on an empty road in Surrey, and on appeal the conviction was confirmed by a bench which included the present occupant of the Woolsack. It must be remembered that the present legislation is twenty-two years old, and was passed when present conditions were not thought of or understood, and the difficulty is to apply it to present conditions. I agree with what the noble Lord opposite said, in contradistinction to what was said by the noble Lord, Lord Rathereedan—namely, that you cannot possibly say that you are going to enforce an artificial speed limit against one particular section of motorists who use the roads and not enforce it against another section. That would be an impossible attitude to take up. I confess I have often felt that, as an alternative to the present state of things, it would be a good thing if every motor car which exceeded the twenty miles limit, even by one mile, wore prosecuted, because then the position would become intolerable and legislation would have to be passed to alter it. There is no one in this House who does not break the law in that respect every time he goes out, and even the magistrates who impose fines do so, too.

As regards the light motors, I am not sure that prosecutions for exceeding the speed limit have not done much more harm than good, because they have diverted the public mind, and the mind of the police, from that which is the real danger on the road—namely, reckless and dangerous driving. That, I think, has been a. misfortune, because it has educated the public mind wrongly. When, however, you come to heavy vehicles you come to totally different conditions—namely, those not of the public safety but of the public expenditure. They do inflict upon the roads very heavy damage. I rather regret that the noble Lord did riot wait to bring forward his Motion until the full Return was made that I asked for the other day, as to the number of prosecutions which have taken place, but, from the answer which was given to me, your Lordships will gather that the number of prosecutions of heavy vehicles is very small indeed. If those vehicles only exceeded the speed limit by fifty per cent., and only went eighteen miles an hour, the damage would still be very much less than it is. I travel behind these vehicles, and I find that, quite frequently, they go at twenty-four miles an hour—it is not in the least unusual. I have even been behind omnibuses in the Metropolitan area which go at twenty-four miles an hour. Probably your Lordships will hardly credit that, but it is so. It can be done, and it can be done with comparative safety to the public.

But when you come to roads which are not very strongly made, then there is the most appalling damage, because what was said by the noble Lord is quite true. These vehicles jump an inequality on the road, and strike a blow of many tons weight on the road surface, and, unless the road is of extraordinary strength, it cannot, withstand it. What it means is that the ratepayers are contributing to cheap transport, but it also means that transport is being carried on un- economically—because it would not be an economic thing if you destroyed your railways with your trains. If you made your roads strong enough to carry these vehicles, and not suffer damage, well and good, but, till you do, it would be a paying proposition to do something to curb the impetuosity of drivers, and to lessen the damage. Of course, I agree that you cannot send instructions to chief constables or to magistrates. They are independent, and they are not bound to take any notice of your instructions. But I think that the ratepayers themselves, if they understand this question, will probably cry out for something to be done, and for that reason the more the question is ventilated the better.

May I say that, as to the whole question, I endorse everything that was said by the noble Lord opposite? This is only part of the question. The whole thing wants revising. The Act wants redrafting. You can, obviously, impose different speed limits on vehicles with pneumatic tyres from those you can impose on vehicles with iron-shod tyres. I do hope that this Government, which has a large majority at its disposal, and can therefore pass legislation which is generally called contentious because it means that some people are going to make a fuss about it, will use that majority to put through a Bill which is ten years overdue. We want the whole of this question dealt with, and, although something might be done meanwhile, I do not think we shall get any great improvement until it is dealt with. The noble Lord opposite suggested—and it is a practical suggestion—that, instead of taking a particular class and fining them, you might do something the other way by increasing the taxation upon them. Undoubtedly, the taxation on these heavy vehicles is too light at present: there is no question about that. But, then again, you are simply asking them to pay more for the privilege of breaking up your roads. You do not want your roads broken up. The whole thing is uneconomic. What has happened all over my country lately is that the smaller roads have been speckled with notices to say that heavy traffic may not use them, although heavy traffic, if it went at five miles an hour, could probably use those roads with safety.

I hope that the Government in their reply, even if they do not take the particular steps suggested by Lord Rathcreedan, will indicate that they will consider the subject as a whole, and that they are going to present to Parliament some time or other legislation which will do something to save the roads from this unnecessary damage, and to save the ratepayers from having to pay bills which do not profit anybody. Unless something is done very soon the cost of the roads must grow, and you will really be taxing a particular class, and taxing them very heavily in the case of poor parishes—because your Lordships know that under our present system it is very often the case that poor parishes have considerable mileage of main roads to maintain—you will be taxing them very heavily for the benefit of those who get their goods carried cheaply by these destructive vehicles. I hope that we may hear something comprehensive and practical from the Government on this matter.


My Lords, the full speeches we have heard from two experts on this matter have really exhausted the subject, I think. I rise because I feel certain that there exists a feeling in this House, as I am sure there does outside, that something ought to be done in the nature of an inquiry to bring up to date our antiquated Acts. We are now acting on legislation which is out of date, and if my noble friend has done nothing else but draw attention to this matter, we may hope to get something done in the future. The noble Lord, Lord Montagu, referred to the fact that these heavy vehicles are themselves reforming in the matter of weight and of their destructive properties, because they find it more economical to have pneumatic tyres, and because some of them have a larger number of wheels than four. But these things only apply to a few, and it will be many years before they come into general use. Meanwhile the roads are being destroyed, and the ratepayers have to pay for them, and there is very little protection for the ratepayers against the damage from these heavy vehicles.

The noble Earl, Lord Russell, said that you could not distinguish between vehicles of different character, but I thought that later in his speech he did exactly define the difference between the light vehicle and the heavy vehicle. Therefore, it would he possible to legislate on the question of the speed limit for heavy traffic without dealing with the speed limit for lighter cars, because the question of light vehicles is only one of safety, whereas that of heavy vehicles is a question of cost. I think my noble friend is well advised in suggesting that the law which exists at present in regard to the speed limit should be enforced and that, as far as possible, there should be uniformity throughout the country, because, as he pointed out, the magistrates in one case will inflict a fine for a comparatively small transgression of the speed limit, while, in other cases, they do not convict unless the speed of heavy traffic is about twenty-four miles an hour, although that speed is entirely destructive of the roads. I hope that the Government will give sympathetic consideration to this matter, and that at the earliest possible moment Parliament may be able to deal with it generally and systematically, and get rid of the antiquated system under which we are now acting, so that the ratepayers, as well as the users of the road, may have justice done to them.


My Lords, I agree with the noble Earl who has last spoken that we have had a most interesting, but somewhat unexpected, debate on the whole question of motoring in this country. The questions which I expected, and did at first have put to me, were police questions, and therefore I have risen to do my best to answer them. But my task is greatly lightened from the fact that my noble friend's allies whom he called into action have not only deserted him, but have absolutely thrown away his case. They decline to have anything whatever to do with the speed limit and my noble friend behind me (Lord Montagu) went so far as to say that, even if I was able to return my noble friend opposite a satisfactory answer to his question, he in his magisterial capacity would certainly not carry it out. I think, therefore, that the whole of this Question has been almost disposed of before I have had any opportunity of coming into action.

As regards the general question, I agree not only with what the noble Lord has said to-day, but also with what he said in the speech he delivered here on April 1 to very much the same purport. I agree with every word that he said— we will come to the remedy a little later—and I sympathise. I see that my road rates have gone up by something like 400 per cent. over what they used to be and that my roads now consist chiefly of holes. I have been very much interested this afternoon in hearing how these holes have come about. I shall deal merely with the part of the noble Lord's Question which affects the Home Office, because his Question does not relate entirely to that Department. As far as I can understand there are two points raised. In the first place, my noble friend wishes the Home Office to direct the police to be more active and vigilant in prosecuting drivers for exceeding the speed limit—which is not altogether liked by the noble Lord's friends. The second point is whether a round robin should not be sent to the magistrates asking them to put the present law—which is thrown over, in principle, by the noble Lords' friends and supporters—into active force.

As regards the regulations, I think the very best answer I can give has already been given by the noble Lord himself. My information is that if the whole of the police of the country were to watch for infringements of the speed limit—which my noble friend's friends do not like—there would not be one-tenth of the number necessary to ensure the carrying out of the speed limit regulations on the country roads which are specially to be defended. My noble friend Lord Rathcreedan put the matter even more plainly and vigorously. Be said, in the course of a speech which I have had the pleasure of reading, that if the police forces of this country were quadrupled they could not succeed in apprehending one in one hundred of the drivers of vehicles which exceed the speed limit. If that is really the opinion of my noble friend, I must honestly say that it seems hardly necessary for me to go to the Home Office and ask that the inadequate police forces of the country should be instructed to endeavour to enforce the speed limit.

The other suggestion of the noble Lord was that a circular should be sent to magistrates asking them to deal uniformly with all such offenders. My right hon. friend the Home Secretary is very lath at all times to interfere with that impartial administration of justice by the magistrates on which we pride ourselves in the counties. It is not his job. That has been said in rather stronger language by my noble friend behind me. if my noble friend can bring forward cases in which the police have been slack in carrying out these laws relating to the speed limit—which are not, apparently, universally approved of—I think my right hon. friend would be willing to send round a notice directing the attention of the police to the matter. In the Metropolis they come under the Home Secretary. In the counties they are not under his jurisdiction, but in most cases are under the joint and several committees with which your Lordships are acquainted and which are not interfered with more than can be helped.

I am not certain whether my noble friend desires that police constables should be directed to expend all their energies in securing the observation of the speed limit regulations. I do not know whether he wishes to include all vehicles, or only those which are regarded as heavy vehicles I should really like to have an opportunity of saying something about the internal combustion engine and its effect on roads and in other directions. But on the question of the speed limit, so far as it concerns the Home Office, if my noble friend really thinks after this debate that it would be a good fling for me to approach the Home Secretary in that direction, I shall be only too pleased to fall in with his wishes.

It is plain from what has happened here that the whole matter is a very large one and cannot possibly he dealt with in reply to a Question which refers only to the police side, which, apparently, is not wholly approved. I think that my noble friend who replied to the noble Earl, Lord Russell, from this Bench promised that a Road Vehicle Consolidation and Amendment Bill should be brought in as soon as possible. That has nothing to do with my Department, but it was said by my noble friend who represents the Ministry of Transport. The introduction of that measure will give an opportunity for the speeches to which we have listened with so much pleasure to-night, and I have no doubt that useful Amendments will be put down which will be considered, not by myself but by my noble friend who represents the Ministry of Transport. I hope I have satisfied my noble friend opposite, but I happen to be able to inform him that I have just been told that he will get his information in three days.


I am very much obliged to the noble Lord.


I hope the noble Earl will be able to endure the interval, but if I could see him at the close of the debate he would be able to inform me, no doubt, as to the details which he requires. They are rather complicated when you come to speed limits and all these other things. I have nothing more to say. There is plenty more that I would like to say, but I hope that what I have said will satisfy my noble friend.


My Lords, I am very much obliged to the noble Lord for the courteous reply he has given to my Question. I might say, in self-defence, that when I brought this Question forward some time ago I had no knowledge that any legislation was to be introduced. We have been promised definite legislation and my desire now is to hurry up that legislation. I suggest that something should be done in the meantime to prevent the destruction of our roads and the property by the side of those roads until this promised legislation comes into force. I might point out that since I last spoke, some few weeks ago, the police in certain counties have altered their methods and, by setting traps for these heavy vehicles, have been able to bring to justice a large number of drivers who have exceeded the speed limit. I agree with the noble Lord that it is not the place of the Government to issue instructions either to the police or the magistrates, but if it were intimated generally to both those bodies that it is desirable that the law of the land should be carried out so far as lies in their power until the law is changed, much good would result. In the circumstances, I ask leave to withdraw my Motion.

Motion, by leave, withdrawn.

Forward to