HL Deb 02 December 1965 vol 270 cc1374-5

3.13 p.m.


My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.

[The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will consider legislation which will make the use of headlights in conditions of fog and bad visibility compulsory.]


My Lords, as the noble Lord suggests, drivers cannot be required under the present law to use headlights in daylight fog or bad visibility. Even if powers to do this were available, there would remain the problem of legally defining the conditions in which headlamps should be used. My right honourable friend has, however, asked the Working Party, with representatives of manufacturers, road users, road safety organisations and the police, which he has set up to review the Road Vehicles Lighting Regulations, to consider proposals for making requirements about the use of headlamps generally.


My Lords, I thank the noble Lord for his full and satisfactory reply.


My Lords, is my noble friend satisfied that a very bright white light from a car in fog is an advantageous thing? Is it not a fact that it often reflects back at the man behind the light; and, in the circumstances, is not the answer a strong amber light, rather than a bright white light?


My Lords, that is one of the things which is being inquired into. There are conflicting views. Certainly, so far as the Highway Code is concerned, there is a recommendation to use headlights in daytime in fog or bad visibility, in order that other road users can see you. In hours of darkness, however, it is true that there is a considerable reflection arising from the use of headlights.


My Lords, while this matter is being considered, would the noble Lord also look into the question of making the use of dipped headlights compulsory in this country during the hours of daylight in fog? This is already compulsory in France, and it might be satisfactory to have this rule in this country, too. I would agree with the noble Lord opposite, that in fact an amber light would be more suitable than a white light.


My Lords, I ought perhaps to have made it clear that at present in the Road Transport Lighting Act 1957, and the Road Traffic Act 1962, there is no power whatever to require the use of either sidelights or headlights during the hours of daylight. This whole question is under review by the Working Party of manufacturers, road users, road safety organisations and the police.


My Lords, could the noble Lord say when this Working Party will be reporting?


Not without notice, my Lords. But the work is going ahead, and I understand that it is my right honourable friend's desire that as sectional reports come in to him he will make sectional groups of regulations.