§ 2.40 p.m.
§ [The Question was as follows:
§ To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have studied the edge of road or edge of pavement marking that is being used in many of the states of the U.S.A. and also Canada, where it is claimed to have prevented up to 35 per cent. of the accidents that formerly occurred; and if they have studied this, why it is not being used on many of the roads where accidents are frequent in Great Britain.]
My Lords, we are aware of the use of this marking in North America, and there is no doubt about the usefulness of edge markings especially for night-time driving. We have been conducting extensive trials with edge of carriageway markings, with and without the use of reflectorised materials, on different types of roads and, in particular, on motorways. The Worboys Committee, which considered traffic signs, stressed in their Report published last July that there was a need for a more emphatic form of edge of carriageway marking on high-speed roads. They went on to say that wherever special emphasis was required because of road or traffic conditions the marking should be reflectorised. It is proposed to prescribe an edge of carriageway marking in the new traffic signs Regulations, and the traffic 120 signs Manual will encourage highway authorities to use reflectorised material where traffic conditions warrant it.
§ LORD BOSSOM
My Lords, while thanking my noble friend for that comment, may I ask whether he can say when these markings are going to be carried out?—because if we can prevent 35 per cent. of the accidents we are having on certain roads it certainly seems worth while doing it.
My Lords, the Regulations are due to come out during the course of this year, and after that it is hoped that local highway authorities will adopt this practice as soon as possible.
§ LORD SHEPHERD
My Lords, can the noble Earl say why there is such a delay? He used the words "this year". This is only the month of March. Therefore, in view of the noble Earl's reply, we can wait for nine months. After all these inquiries, and in view of the considerable need, I think the Ministry should make a special effort to see that these Regulations are introduced as soon as possible.
My Lords, I entirely appreciate the noble Lord's point, but I would refer him, if I may, to a Written Answer given by my right honourable friend the Minister of Transport on March 2, which said [OFFICIAL REPORT, Commons, Vol. 690 (No. 64), col. 175]:I said on November 25 that following necessary consultation with representative organisations I hoped it would be possible to lay before the House in July the new Regulations implementing the recommendations of the Worboys Committee. These recommendations were of course very radical and the consultations are taking longer than expected. It is therefore unlikely now that the Regulations will be ready before September.
§ LORD BOSSOM
My Lords, may I inquire of my noble friend whether he would like to have a copy of all the official records, so that he would be able to make this decision a little more quickly?
My Lords, with the greatest of respect to my noble friend, I do not think that it would make any difference if he did give me all the records, because the decision has been arrived at.
§ LORD BOSSOM
My Lords, may I, with all respect to my noble friend, urge him to ask the Minister to use a litttle speed about this? Once a person is dead he is dead for a long time; and if we can prevent 35 per cent. of the accidents, then it is worth while considering.
My Lords, I will certainly pass on the remarks of my noble friend to my right honourable friend.