THE EARL OF GOSFORD
My Lords, I beg to ask the first Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.
§ [The Question was as follows:
§ To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will consider the possibility of erecting suitable signs at places on trunk roads where local fog or frost patches are known to form without warning; and whether they will consider recommending to local authorities that they should erect similar signs on roads under their control, thus helping to minimise the causes of road accidents.]
§ LORD CHESHAM
My Lords, this matter is very much in my right honourable friend's mind, and various ways of overcoming the difficulties occasioned by frost and fog are now being studied in the light of the experience being gained in the use of warning measures on the M.1. A possible objection to permanent signs is that, in the climatic conditions in this country they would be giving a misleading message for so much of the time that they might tend to be disregarded just when their message was vital. However, my right honourable friend will come to no final decision until the data gained from M.1 have been fully evaluated.
§ LORD DERWENT
My Lords, is my noble friend not aware that on the Continent of Europe they have a sign, which is easily understood, which shows that a particular stretch of road is liable to icy or difficult conditions, which surely does not mislead anyone? It does not say it is slippery at that moment, but does it not say in fact that that particular stretch of road is liable to these hazards? Why cannot we use the same thing here?
§ LORD CHESHAM
My Lords, I am naturally familiar with that sign and I admire it, as does my noble friend. When we go as tourist drivers in France I am sure we all take notice of that sign, but I am not entirely convinced that the local French drivers take any notice of it at all; there seems to be little indication that they slow down at my time. But something of that sort will no doubt be included in the consideration which is being given to this matter.