HL Deb 24 July 1961 vol 233 cc824-5

My Lords, on behalf of my noble friend Lord Airedale, who unfortunately cannot be present this afternoon, I beg leave to ask the Question which stands in his name on the Order Paper.

[The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether, in the light of the report of the Road Injuries Research Group, they agree that side and rear bumpers should be compulsory on heavy vehicles having la high ground clearance.]


My Lords, this problem has been considered over many years but no satisfactory solution for general application has been found. Heavy goods vehicles are of many types and are used in widely varying circumstances. In many cases, high clearance is needed for work with heavy loads on rough ground or for manæuvring in loading bays. If the clearance is insufficient, damage may be caused, and a bent or broken side bumper would be highly dangerous. I am afraid, therefore, that as things stand at present my right honourable friend is not satisfied that on balance the noble Lord's proposal would be acceptable in the interests of road safety.


My Lords, may I ask the noble Lord to give us an assurance that the consideration of this question, which has been maintained so long, will continue and that the matter will not be closed?


My Lords, I am pleased to tell the noble Lord that it will not be forgotten. We will continue to consider it, as well as many other measures that may contribute to road safety.


My Lords, will the fact be taken into account at the same time that the size of heavy passenger vehicles is going to be lengthened and that the legal speed limit is going to be increased to 40 m.p.h.? Will not the noble Lord consider whether every kind of protection ought not to be added?


My Lords, as the noble Viscount knows, it has been the law for many years that public service and passenger vehicles must have their sides guarded. It is now somewhat out of date, because there are practically none on the road now with a high chassis their bodies come down much lower than they did at the time when this legislation was passed. While we will certainly bear it in mind, I do not think the point is a very serious one now.