HL Deb 01 August 1961 vol 234 cc53-5

My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.

[The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government, with reference to the international discussions on flashing direction indicators on motor cars—

  1. (a) with which countries they are taking place,
  2. (b) when they began,
  3. (c) when the Government expect to reach agreement on an international standard.]


My Lords, in January this year a standard for direction indicators, excluding intensity requirements, was recommended for adoption by Governments by the responsible Committee of the Economic Commission for Europe. My right honourable friend the Minister of Transport has circulated proposals, based on this recommendation, for amending the existing Regulations, and the comments received from interested organisations are being studied. The main features of these proposals are the establishment of angles through Which light from an indicator must be visible and the standardisation of amber as the colour for all indicators on new vehicles.

Further international discussions, taking place at present, are directed towards establishing a range of intensities suitable for direction indicators by day and by night. Technical experts from the United Kingdom, the United States of America and most West European countries on an international Working Party have been investigating the problem since February, 1960. I am advised that, in April last, agreed recommendations were reached by the experts, which, in due course, will be submitted to the appropriate Committee of the Economic Commission for Europe for approval. It is important that Her Majesty's Government should await the outcome of consideration by the Commission before deciding what standards of intensity should be adopted here.


My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Lord for his reply; but do the Government realise that there is widespread dissatisfaction with the present situation and that, while we should not expect the Government to take action without consulting other European and Western countries, the matter is urgent? We hope the Government will pursue it as urgently as possible.


Yes, my Lords, we are of course aware of what the noble Earl has said that there is dissatisfaction and concern about possible sources of danger. That is why comment has been called for from the interested parties—as, of course, my right honourable friend must do statutorily. He must have these consultations; the answers are being considered as quickly as we can consider them.


My Lords, I presume that this refers to the question of trafficators versus what are commonly known as "blinkers" and other devices to indicate where a vehicle is going. If I am wrong, perhaps the noble Lord will tell me. Will the noble Lord consider whether there should not be standardisation in this country?—because it is confusing when there are different indicator signs. Then, when that is done, whether by us or by international agreement, would it not be fair that the manufacturers should be required to observe the decision in the making of new cars, rather than that the owners of motor cars should be compelled to spend money on adjusting their cars straight away?


My Lords, this Question refers to flashing indicators. I think it would be right to say that this is a question which must have attention. I think, my Lords, particularly as the manufacturers are themselves represented on the Working Party in Brussels which is considering this matter, that they may even be ahead of any regulations that might be envisaged in the future. Once recommendations have been made, they might quite easily adopt them voluntarily, which would, of course, be all to the good.