HL Deb 31 July 1962 vol 243 cc210-1

After Clause 22, insert the following new clause:

Warning devices for indicating temporary obstructions

("Regulations under section fifty-one of the principal Act prescribing any type of object or device for warning traffic of a temporary obstruction may include provisions for authorising, subject to such conditions as may be specified in the regulations, persons not otherwise authorised to do so to place an object or device of that type on or near roads or on or near any description of road so specified, in such circumstances and for such periods as may be so specified.")


My Lords, the purpose of this Amendment is to give the Minister power to authorise the placing of warning signs on the road when it is temporarily obstructed by a vehicle which has broken down or been damaged in an accident. Under existing legislation the driver whose vehicle is so obstructing the road is not authorised to put up any sign, even if the vehicle's lights have failed when it is dark. Technically it is an offence wilfully to obstruct the highway without lawful authority or excuse, and it could certainly be held that such a sign could do so. Traffic signs may be put up only by the police or the highway authority. I think there is no doubt that vehicles which break down, possibly just around a corner or something like that, do cause accidents, especially where traffic is fast.

This clause empowers the Minister, in conjunction with the Secretary of State for Scotland, to prescribe in regulations the kind of warning device or sign which may be used, the persons who may put it on the roadway, the circumstances where it can be used, and the conditions with which its position on the road must comply. Therefore, he will be able to make it permissible for a warning sign to be put out where it is justified. Experience as to how this works in practice at the end of a year or two of experiment will enable consideration to be given as to whether all vehicles or, at any rate, certain classes of vehicles ought to be required to carry one and put it out when appropriate. There has been a certain amount of discussion of this point, generally I think on Questions, in the past; my noble friend Lord Gosford has raised the matter on one or two occasions, and I think probably he may welcome this clause. I hope your Lordships will, too. I beg to move that this House doth agree with the Commons in the said Amendment.

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

On Question, Motion agreed to.