HL Deb 30 June 1964 vol 259 cc508-9

2.46 p.m.


My Lords, I beg leave 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 would consider introducing legislation forbidding learner drivers from using trunk roads during the holiday weekends.]


My Lords, there is no evidence that learner drivers are a special source of accidents in the circumstances to which the noble Earl refers. The extreme novice should not be encouraged to venture on to very busy roads, but to prevent learner drivers generally from obtaining, under supervision, this sort of experience would deny them the opportunity of developing their driving skill and experience in all kinds of traffic which is necessary if they are to become competent drivers. My right honourable friend the Minister of Transport does not, therefore, propose to impose a restriction of the sort suggested.


My Lords, I am obliged for my noble friend's Answer to the Question. No doubt he is aware that learner drivers are not allowed on motorways, though they might also wish to gain experience of driving on motorways. As my noble friend is probably aware, half of the accidents are caused by inexperience. If he could again bring this matter to the attention of his right honourable friend, something might be done about it.


My Lords, I would regard the question of driving on motorways, of which I am naturally well aware, as a different one. It demands a special technique, with a specially constructed road. Many trunk roads are not very different from other roads, and I think that to adopt any such measure as the noble Earl suggests would be a hit-and-miss method. While undoubtedly there are certain trunk roads that carry heavy loads at holiday week-ends, others do not. There are also many people for whom the weekend is perhaps the only opportunity they have to learn to drive. I do not think that such a measure would really do anything.


My Lords, would the noble Lord not agree that it is not correct to say that half the accidents are due to lack of experience, but that the majority of them are due to sheer bad manners and lack of consideration?


My Lords, my noble friend will have noticed that I have already not agreed with that.


My Lords, may I ask my noble friend whether he would consider limiting the learner drivers to those who are accompanied by representatives of registered driving schools, rather than parents and other members of the family?


No, my Lords.