HL Deb 31 July 1962 vol 243 cc197-8

Clause 19, page 13, line 31, at end insert— ("(c) that the age under which a person may not drive on a road a road roller falling within paragraph 4 of the Table set out in subsection (1) of this section shall, if the roller is of a description specified in the regulations and is driven in circumstances so specified, be seventeen instead of twenty-one;")

5.42 p.m.


My Lords, Section 97, subsection (1), of the 1960 Act sets out the minimum ages under which a person may not drive various classes of vehicles. For vehicles which are in the categories called heavy locomotive, light locomotive, motor tractor or heavy motor car, which excludes agricultural tractors, the minimum age is 21. Practically all road-rollers, except some very small ones, fall within one or other of these categories, and consequently cannot be driven by anyone under that age. Now it seems that it is very difficult to get road-roller drivers nowadays, because most of the potential recruits have gone into and settled down in some other trade by the time they are 21. I think this may be so, because I understand there are about 1,500 road-roller drivers in this country, and I understand that their average age is 60. The intake of the new drivers in the last few years has been very small indeed.

A claim to reduce the minimum age for driving these rollers could be entertained only if it were clear that no risk to road safety was invloved. I gather that the majority of rollers which are the biggest worry are those powered by an internal combustion engine, (usually diesel, which are fitted with solid metal rollers and weighing about 11 or 12 tons. Because of their construction, they are limited to a maximum speed of 5 miles an hour. If you think of that, and the fact that rollers, except when they are going from A to B under their own power, are normally used on parts of the road where other traffic does not go; that their braking performance and manœuvrability have improved considerably; and that seventeen-year-olds can drive larger and faster lorries in other circumstances, it seems reasonable to propose this reduction to seventeen for road-roller drivers. I beg to move.

Moved, That this House doth agree with the Commons in the said Amendment.—(Lord Chesham.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.