HL Deb 21 July 1967 vol 285 cc505-22

11.8 p.m.

Order of the Day for the House to be put into Committee read.

Moved, That the House do now resolve itself into Commitee.—(Lord Lindgren.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.

House in Committee accordingly.

[The EARL OF LISTOWEL in the Chair]

Clause 1 agreed to.

Clause 2 [Exemption of police instructors from prohibition imposed by section 1 of this Act]:


It may be to the convenience of the Committee if with this Amendment we consider also Amendment No. 2, because they are connected. These are technical Amendments to ensure that the exemption in Clause 2 for police driving instructors will include civilian driving instructors employed under the Commissioner of Police or the Receiver for the Metropolitan Police District, to give driving instruction to members of the Metropolitan Police. The employment of such civilians is recognised by the Metropolitan Police Staff Superannuation Act 1875, and is not covered by Section 10 of the Police Act 1964, on which the existing Clause 2 is based. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 2, line 20, leave out ("person") and insert ("civilian").—(Lord Lindgren.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.


I beg to move.

Amendment moved—

Page 2, line 26, at end insert— ("( ) In the application of subsection (2) above to the metropolitan police, for the reference to a civilian employed by a police authority, there shall be substituted a reference to a civilian employed under the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis or the Receiver for the Metropolitan Police District.")—(Lord Lindgren.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 2, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 3 [The register and registration and duration thereof]:


Amendments Nos. 4 and 5 are also connected with this Amendment No. 3, and I suggest that we should deal with them together. It has been suggested that lines 16 to 20 on page 3 of the Bill might be interpreted as meaning that throughout the period of four years preceding the date of his application an applicant must have held both a current licence of one of the kinds mentioned and a current foreign licence. The intention is that on every day during the four-year period mentioned the applicant should hold either a current licence of one of the kinds mentioned, or a current foreign licence. These are drafting Amendments. They do not alter the substance of the provision; they are there really for clarification. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 3, line 6, as beginning insert ("that")—(Lord Lindgren.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.


I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 3, line 17, leave out ("has he held neither") and insert ("did he not hold one or other of the following licences, namely")(Lord Lindgren.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.


I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 3, line 19, leave out ("nor") and insert ("and")—(Lord Lindgren.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

LORD CHESHAM moved, after subsection (3), to insert: ( ) Regulations shall provide that persons who have passed the Royal Automobile Club test for registered driving instructors shall be exempt from the condition mentioned in paragraph (a) of subsection (1) above.

The noble Lord said: In moving the Amendment which stands in my name, I think I should first say that I regret very much that I was unable to take part, as I had intended, in the Second Reading debate on this Bill, and I should like to apologise to your Lordships for the last-minute adverse circumstances that prevented my doing so. Had I done so, I should have got up to welcome and support the principle of the Bill and indicate the welcome and support of my organisation, the R.A.C. It has been argued for many years that good professional driving instruction is a major factor in contributing to road safety. I repeat the assurance that we are in support of this Bill, and the Amendment I have put down is only an attempt to improve it in one certain respect.

It is a slightly double-barrelled Amendment, in that it seems to me that subsection (3) of Clause 3 is a little deficient, for it gives the Minister power to exempt any chosen body from only part of the conditions referred to in the Bill above—that is in subsection (1) paragraph (a)—and it seems to me that the Minister might just as well have power to exempt from the whole of that requirement. But that is not the real substance of my Amendment. I hope your Lordships will not think I am doing a wrong thing in any way in moving this Amendment with a direct reference to the R.A.C. in it. I do so because I am convinced it is a reasonable thing, and, after all, I think I may claim that at least I know as much about it as anybody else.

I do not think I need delve very far into the history of this matter, because my noble friend Lord Nugent of Guildford on Second Reading gave your Lordships a certain amount of information about the attitude and activity of the R.A.C. in this regard. I would remind your Lordships that since 1935, a period of 32 years, we have put the principle into practice by operating our scheme for registration of driving instructors in order to encourage learner drivers to be trained by suitably qualified and properly professional experts. Your Lordships may wish to know that we have some 5,000 such qualified instructors on the register at the present time. An association of those registered instructors was formed in 1958 in order to protect and promote the interests of instructors. One of the declared objects of their scheme is to secure that persons giving driving tuition in the course of business shall be properly qualified so to do. So your Lordships can see that our views coincide completely with my statement that we are quite in support of the principle of the Bill.

Your Lordships will also know that since 1964 the Ministry have operated their own scheme for voluntary registration of approved full-time driving instructors, on very similar lines to the scheme which we have run for so long. They brought it in after close study and a good deal of willing co-operation from us at the time. I understand there are now about 5,000 instructors also on the Ministry's voluntary register, and I understand that quite a number of them are also R.A.C. registered instructors. It may be a point of interest that so far as we are concerned we still get a very substantial number of applicants for our test, the Ministry test notwithstanding.

This matter was discussed fairly fully when the Bill was going through another place, and a number of rather astonishing things happened, to which I think I am bound to draw your Lordships' attention. In the course of that discussion the Parliamentary Secretary said: On a number of occasions the R.A.C. has claimed that the standard which instructors have to obtain before being included in its register is at least as high as, if not higher than, that required for inclusion in the Ministry's voluntary register. There is, however, no evidence to support this. I wish there were."—[OFFICIAL REPORT. Commons, Standing Committee C. col. 95; l0/5/67]: To put it mildly, I thought that was an astonishing statement to come from the Parliamentary Secretary of the Ministry of Transport. As I have said, since 1959 we have been in constant discussion with the Ministry regarding the setting up of their own scheme, and we have from time to time, quite often—and many meetings have been held—provided detailed information concerning our own scheme. And, as I have said, the Ministry scheme is closely based on ours and we were pleased to help with these matters, even if we had at the time no prospect of any form of exemption. The Ministry really must know everything there is about these two schemes because of those discussions. So it would seem strange for them to say this.

I myself over the last twelve months have had a number of opportunities to discuss these matters with the Ministry, and I certainly had no idea that the whole of the evidence was not well known to the Ministry. I have upon my file a detailed assessment of the differences between the two schemes prepared by the Ministry, and without the evidence I do not see how that could have been made. In fact, happenings of the past bring it to my own personal knowledge that the Ministry were fully aware of everything there was to know about it in 1962, when the whole subject was under consideration and the question of exemption for R.A.C. registered instructors was discussed at that time; and I must admit that even then I personally thought that the decision made not to do so was the wrong one.

The Parliamentary Secretary went on to say: I wish the honourable Member had been able to adduce evidence to support this. If there were evidence, we might have had it this morning. I do not blame the honourable Member for this. Repeatedly, the Ministry has asked the R.A.C. to adduce evidence on this and it has not so far done so. again, an extraordinary statement, to my way of thinking. Just for the sake of the Record, if nothing else, the evidence is coming in a moment. But to say that repeated requests have been made and it has not been forthcoming is really rather odd.

I do not know about these repeated requests, but I should not have thought there was even any necessity to make them in the circumstances; and it is probably the reason why the honourable Member whom the Parliamentary Secretary was at that time addressing did not bring all the evidence forward, because it was considered to be already so well known. I do not think he could have anticipated such a reply, that the evidence was not there, when I should have thought that obviously it was abundantly there.

The Parliamentary Secretary then referred to evidence being required to substantiate the R.A.C.'s claim. Well, the evidence has been there. There have been many discussions on this basis. I suppose that substantiation must be a matter of opinion, because so long as you are determined not to consider anything as substantiated it is difficult to think what more evidence can be produced that will change the situation when all is already known.

Your Lordships will know that in the course of proceedings in another place it was announced that there would be partial exemption from the Ministry's test for R.A.C. registered instructors and also those who were on the register of the Motor Schools' Association. The Parliamentary Secretary said that the R.A.C. were willing to accept the compromise. I suppose that is true; but in my view it is stretching the point a little. We are indeed glad to have this compromise, because I have always understood that half-a-loaf is better than no bread. I am also quite willing to concede that this is a full half-loaf. But I think it in no way detracts from the force of my argument on the standard of our test. Incidentally, I wondered how one could come to a conclusion on partial exemption when there was no evidence on which total exemption could be considered; but perhaps that is not an important point.

We continue to regard the R.A.C. registered instructor as a man who is demonstrating to the public that the services of one who belongs to the cream of his profession are available. We are going to do our best, by tightening it if necessary, to make certain that our test remains the best that there is to offer. If I may take a couple of minutes, I should like to bring to your Lordships' notice various points which I claim are in favour of our test. The first one is that the Ministry do not set out the motoring offences which make a candidate ineligible for registration under their scheme. The R.A.C., on the other hand, provide in a quite forthright way for the rejection of candidates or the cancellation of their registration if they are convicted of careless driving or any more serious offence. That I score as a point for the R.A.C. The Ministry test the candidate's teaching ability with the examiner taking the place of the learner driver. The R.A.C., on the other hand, has a separate pupil who is not necessarily a learner but is certainly not an expert driver, and that, I submit, is a more practical test and scores another point. The Ministry re-test instructors at regular intervals. We can only conduct a limited number of re-tests because our availability of manpower and resources is less. So I would score a point for the Ministry, making two to one so far.

With regard to fees, I may mention that the Ministry's fees are £10 for the test and £5 every two years for re-registration. Our charge is four guineas, and two guineas for re-registration each year, plus two free plates to put on the instructor's car. Because of the sample retesting basis that I mentioned, I would score that one at half-a-point each. The Ministry require records of tuition and driving test pass rates to be kept by the instructors. The R.A.C. does not. But I do not score more than half-a-point to the Ministry for that. We have a positive control over advertising concerning R.A.C. registration. This the Ministry do not do, beyond providing that it is an offence for an instructor to represent improperly that he is Ministry of Transport approved. I have scored half-a-point to the R.A.C. there. The Ministry of Transport do not examine and register schools. The R.A.C. does—another point. The R.A.C. test of driving and tuition is certainly more extensive and covers higher speed techniques with a practical test on motorways or a suitable dual carriageway road. That is another point.

The Ministry's theoretical test covers some matters which do not seem to us to be an essential requirement for all registered instructors; that is, a detailed technical knowledge of car construction and design. The Ministry also has what I gather is a highly prized asset; namely, the Civil Service standard of invigilation when an examination is taking place. It is often spoken of in hushed whispers, and consequently I will give the Ministry half-a-point for that. Over the years we have accepted part-time or full-time instructors. The Ministry has only recently decided to accept part-time instructors, though professional, of course.

An important point is that the R.A.C. requirements in regard to the character of an applicant are, I think, a good deal more stringent than those of the Ministry. This is important, because under a compulsory registration and compulsory test it is much more difficult for the Ministry to be selective about the personal and moral background of an applicant than it is for us. A refusal on the part of the Ministry can deprive a man of his livelihood; and it will be much more difficult for them to insist on that kind of standard. Then I score another point to the Ministry, for the reason that in these circumstances the R.A.C. is burdened with something called selective employment tax; whereas, of course, as and when necessary the Ministry have the weight of the Exchequer behind them. The score card at the moment adds up to: R.A.C. 7½, Ministry 4.

I have another point which it is relevant to mention. The failure rate of the Ministry's test is 45 per cent. It was quoted not very long ago that that was the rate of failure in the R.A.C. test, but I can tell the Committee that at present the failure rate in our test is something over 50 per cent. I do not know whether, when the compulsory test comes in, good thing as it is, the Ministry will be able to maintain the same standards as they can under the voluntary scheme, for the reason I mentioned; namely, that the person will be deprived of his livelihood. We shall continue as a voluntary scheme, and therefore we should have no difficulty in keeping up the very high standards which we maintain at present.

It is our intention to impose even higher standards in future to keep our test the best of the lot. That is worth a point, and I consider that 32 years' experience and enthusiasm for this business is worth a point. I feel justified in saying that if your Lordships accept my Amendment, considerable economies for the Ministry will result from the operation of the test, because so many of the tests will be carried out by us. That, it seems to me, is a very valid reason. It leaves the score cards at 10½ to 4. I hope that I have explained the score cards in a sufficiently detailed way to convince your Lordships that you should accept this Amendment.

Amendment moved— Page 3, line 39, at end insert the said subsection.—(Lord Chesham.)


It is with the greatest reluctance that I rise to oppose my noble friend's Amendment. I have the greatest respect for him as a motorist and for his organisation, but the question of exemptions is always rather tricky, since if one starts making exemptions in one place, the question must inevitably arise: where does one stop? There will doubtless be other organisations which will also claim exemption; and on what grounds will they be refused? Although my noble friend has made a very good and strong claim for the R.A.C., one does not know, for instance, what conditions prevail in the A.A. or in other motoring organisations, such as the British School of Motoring. Therefore I feel—and, incidentally, these are also the opinions of the Institute of Advanced Motorists—that it is better and safer to make no exemptions at all. I hope that my noble friend will not feel that I am making any direct attack either upon him or upon the R.A.C. when I ask the Committee not to agree to this Amendment.

I had another point to raise, in relation to dual control which does not arise under this subsection at all; but, as the Bill is going through all stages today, I should like to have some instruction from the Lord Chairman as to how I am to put it. I have not put down any Amendment, not even a manuscript Amendment.


If the noble Lord cares to draft a manuscript Amendment on the subject of dual control, I can accept that manuscript Amendment. I am afraid that I cannot accept an oral Amendment.


I understand.

11.34 a.m.


I thank the noble Lord, Lord Somers, for his intervention and for his opposition to this Amendment. We have heard a lot of special pleading on behalf of the R.A.C. I should like to make it quite clear to your Lordships that in this matter the R.A.C. are completely out on a limb and that no section of the motor instruction profession supports them. I take the same view as the noble Lord, Lord Somers, that there should be no exemptions whatever. This is a Ministry standard and a Ministry test for the protection of the public.

But during the course of the Committee stage in another place, as the noble Lord, Lord Chesham, has said, a concession was made that the R.A.C. and the Motor Schools' Association should be exempted from the written part of the examination. I take it that that was a concession intended to placate people and to assist the progress of the Bill. However, I should like to make it quite clear that the Motor Schools' Association themselves would much prefer that there were no exemptions. They took the view that if the R.A.C. were going to have it why should not they, because they were both in the same position. The R.A.C. are a non-profit-making organisation who are not engaged in the profit-making profession of giving driving instruction. But the same is true of the Motor Schools' Association. They would prefer that there should be no exemptions, but their attitude was that if the R.A.C. were going to have this treatment, they should have it too.

The noble Lord, Lord Somers, mentioned the British School of Motoring. They have a very high standard of teaching instructors, but they are training instructors who will be professional instructors carrying out the job of instruction for their weekly salary and in order that their School may make a profit. They are in a different category from the R.A.C. or the Motor Schools' Association. Where does one draw the line? The British School of Motoring equally would claim that their standards of instruction and their standards of testing are far higher than those of the R.A.C.

The noble Lord, Lord Chesham, is an ex-Parliamentary Secretary, and in that we have something in common. But there is a phrase that, "Dog doesn't eat dog"; and, as the noble Lord went for the present Parliamentary Secretary, I must come to his defence. I have just been handed a note which states that the R.A.C. were asked in January and February of this year to substantiate their claims. But neither a reply nor an acknowledgment has been received at the Ministry. That was before the Committee stage in another place, and therefore the Parliamentary Secretary was quite right to say that the Ministry had no knowledge of the standards. I want to make it quite clear that the whole of the profession are against the exemptions.

When it comes to the practical test, it is the Ministry, of course, who are setting up the standards, and they must have the examiner to test those standards. It is not only the content of the examination which is important; the standard of testing is of equal importance in giving the profession the standard required. After all, whatever the content of an examination, the pass rate may even be 5 per cent. and not 90 per cent., but the Ministry do not know the standards so far as the R.A.C. are concerned.

I must make this point—I shall be accused of making a debating point, but it is a very good one. If the R.A.C. are confident that their standards are so high, that their qualified instructors whom they have passed are of such a high standard, what is the worry? If they go in for the Ministry examination they need have no fear of failure. If we are to have this Bill, which is a Road Safety Bill to protect the public, there should be one standard and the Ministry should be responsible for it.

Even the Press are against the R.A.C. on this issue, and I should like to quote them. The People said: It will be possible to improve tuition standards only if all driving instructors are obliged to take the examination set by the Ministry of Transport before they can be licensed to operate. Then the Yorkshire Post, quoting a Mr. Lewis Radcliffe, an instructor in the Goole area, said: To qualify for Ministry of Transport registration one has to pass a very rigorous test—much stiffer than the R.A.C. test. Driving instructors who take pride in their work have taken this test; some qualify but many fail. Then I have one quotation which is not quite Parliamentary but, after all, it is made by a driving instructor. According to the Birmingham Evening Post, Mr. John Lee, an instructor in the Birmingham area, said: The R.A.C test is a lot of codswallop. That is descriptive, if not Parliamentary. The motoring correspondent of the Daily Sketch said: I consider that the 4,000 R.A.C. registered instructors are wrong in trying to dodge a Ministry of Transport examination. They want to be exempted from the official register of approved driving instructors' examination, because they claim they have already passed an R.A.C. test. There is no reason at all why every driving instructor should not be forced to sit the Ministry examination. In view of all these facts, I ask the noble Lord, Lord Chesham, to withdraw, or not to press, his Amendment. If it is not withdrawn, I must ask the House to resist it, because we are trying to set national standards with a Ministry test, in exactly the same way as we have national standards and a Ministry test for the driving test itself. The driving test will be a national test with a national standard, and the instruction will be of a national standard with a national test. I must resist the Amendment.


May I rise briefly to support my noble friend? The Government believe that his arguments are sound, and they support them. I am glad that the noble Lord, Lord Somers, has also supported my noble friend in making the point that almost all organised motoring associations, other than the Royal Automobile Club, do, in fact, hope that there will be one standard of testing in the country and that the R.A.C. will not receive special treatment.

I should like to add only one point to the argument. I think this Committee will agree that it is extremely difficult to make valid judgments about standards. How exactly does one measure the quality of instruction of testers and so on? What is happening now is difficult, but the Amendment of the noble Lord, Lord Chesham, would automatically exempt all future R.A.C. instructors. As the Bill stands, it governs them now; it will govern them in the future. Although the noble Lord has asserted—and I accept this—that it is the intention of his organisation that standards will always remain high, and if possible higher than those of other organisations, this is not certain. I believe that, for reasons of justice and sound administration, it is much better that we should have a single set of standards for the country, and that the R.A.C. should not have special treatment in this matter.


May I deal for a couple of minutes with what has been said? This whole debate seems to have been confined to past and present members of the Parliamentary Secretaries' "union". I do not think I can really be accused of eating any of my fellow "dogs", but when you have a responsible position which you are trying to maintain, if somebody says something with which you disagree you have a right to say so. I do not in the least feel the pangs of indigestion on the subject.

The noble Lord, Lord Somers, asked (and this has some bearing on what was predictably said by the noble Lords, Lord Lindgren, and Lord Winterbottom): if you have any exemptions at all, where do you stop? Where you stop is very easy: you stop with the R.A.C., for the very simple reason that there is nobody else who does the same thing in a comparable way.

The noble Lord asked what was the situation with the A.A. and the B.S.M. The noble Lord, Lord Lindgren, mentioned that the B.S.M. trained people up to good professional standards for employment in the B.S.M., which is a commercial organisation. The A.A. do not do anything of this kind at all. So there is no comparison there. The noble Lord, Lord Lindgren, said that there is nobody who supports the R.A.C. in this proposal. I am not particularly surprised. When you do something different and better than anybody else, I do not think you can look for very much general support. I was not in the least surprised to hear him draw attention to that. Neither was I surprised to hear him draw your Lordships' attention to a well-selected quantity of Press cuttings. I noticed that they all condemned the R.A.C. test in this respect, but he left out all those Press cuttings—of which we have a considerable collection in the office—which said precisely the opposite. I cannot claim that there were far more of them, but there were probably just as many.

The noble Lord drew attention to two letters which he claimed had been written, and I admit that he has scored a debating point. There was a letter written in January at the time to which he referred. It was written at an official level, and it demanded an explanation for a statement made by somebody else about the R.A.C. at somebody else's meeting. It did not seem a very serious request, The second "letter" (I say this just for the noble Lord's information) was a manuscript P.S. at the end of a letter about something quite different. That can possibly be described as two applications for evidence, but in view of the Ministry's knowledge it can be described as no serious failure to produce evidence. They knew it.

The noble Lord asked what is our worry about instructors taking the Ministry test. We have no worry whatsoever. Our point is just that it seems such a waste of time and effort when this good test, the R.A.C. test, already exists. Much has been made of a national standard. I maintain that the R.A.C. standard is as good as, or better than, a national standard; and it can be used by the Ministry.

At the end of the Second Reading the noble Lord, Lord Lindgren, made a remark to your Lordships about the motor rallies organisation in which he is the chairman of the Advisory Committee. He pointed out to your Lordships, with what seemed to be emphasis, that this was running at a deficit because of the R.A.C.




He said: I must tell the noble Lord that the motor rallies scheme, as far as the R.A.C. is concerned, is very heavily in deficit."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 13/7/67, col. 1278


I did not mean to imply that the deficit was the fault of the R.A.C. at all. As I understood it, the noble Lord, Lord Nugent of Guildford, drew attention in his speech to the fact that the Ministry had allowed the R.A.C. to provide the organisation for motor rallies in this country. He then said that they were carrying out that organisation at a low cost. I made my interjection only because at that moment, as the noble Lord knows, there was a deficit. It was not the fault of the R.A.C.; it was due to the amount that was originally charged and the number of applications. The charges are now being revised. But in my remarks there was no criticism of the R.A.C.


I am very grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Lindgren, for saying that, because, of course, the R.A.C. do this work simply as an agent of the Ministry; and they do what the Ministry want. Of course, we do not want the scheme to be in deficit. But it is, I repeat, a Ministry scheme, though we operate it—no more than that. My real reason for moving this Amendment is not worry about the Ministry test, but because here is an opportunity for the Ministry to save some money without losing any efficiency. I do not know what your Lordships will think of this, but I think that perhaps I ought not simply to withdraw the Amendment.

On Question, Amendment negatived.

Clause 3, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 4 [Extension of duration of registration.]:


The Amendments to Clauses 4, 5 and 6 are purely drafting Amendments to make the Bill a little clearer. With your Lordships' permission, I will move each group en bloc, first of all, those to Clause 4. I beg to move.

Amendments moved—

Page 4, line 33, at beginning insert ("that")

Page 4, line 37, at beginning insert ("that")

Page 4, line 42, at beginning insert ("that")

—(Lord Lindgren.)

On Question, Amendments agreed to.

Clause 4, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 5 [Removal of names from register]:


I beg to move Amendments Nos. 10 to 14.

Amendments moved—

Page 6, line 4, at beginning insert ("that")

Page 6, line 8, at beginning insert ("that")

Page 6, line 11, at beginning insert ("that")

Page 6, line 13, at beginning insert ("that")

Page 6, line 14, at beginning insert ("that").

—(Lord Lindgren.)


If I may cheat, rather, perhaps I may take this opportunity to say that, regardless of what happened to my earlier Amendment, as far as I and my organisation, are concerned we wish nothing but well to this Bill.

On Question, Amendments agreed to.

Clause 5, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 6 [Licences]:


I bee to move the next three Amendments.

Amendments moved—

Page 7, line 43, at beginning insert ("that")

Page 7, Page 8, line 1, at beginning insert ("that")

Page 7, line 4, at beginning insert ("that").

—(Lord Lindgren.)

On Question, Amendments agreed to.

Clause 6, as amended, agreed to.

Clauses 7 to 14 agreed to.


I have been handed a manuscript Amendment in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Somers, which is in the following terms: After Clause 14, insert the following new clause: Dual control on a car which is used for instruction shall be mandatory only when the handbrake is on the offside'".


In rising to move this new clause, I must apologise to the Committee for having put it forward so late, but I think noble Lords will agree that pressure of business has been so heavy during the last two weeks or so that it has been a little hard to see where one was. However, this new clause is very simple. It proposes that dual control—that is to say, merely an extra brake pedal on the instructor's side—should be necessary only when the handbrake is on the offside, or the driver's side, where the instructor cannot reach it. Personally, I am not sure whether, in the case of some types of handbrake, particularly the umbrella type with which some cars are fitted, it would not be a good thing for the clause to apply there as well. But for the sake of simplicity I thought the best thing was to put down the clause as I have it here, which says that on cars which are being used for instruction dual control shall be mandatory only when the handbrake is on the offside. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— After Clause 14, insert the said new clause.—(Lord Somers.)


As the noble Lord, Lord Somers, said—and I accept his explanation—he has given no notice of this Amendment. I am therefore talking quite "off the cuff", because, having had no notice of it, it is not a point I have looked into. So far as I know the standard of cars to be used for instruction is not laid down by the Ministry. There are a number of views held among those carrying out instruction. There certainly is a view amongst instructors that, in the initial stages of instruction, from the point of view of road safety and the protection of instructors, too, it is desirable that there should be dual control; but it is felt by many instructors that at the later stages of instruction the person under instruction should be carrying out the driving under the conditions in which he will be carrying it out when he has passed his test. I have now been advised that the question of dual control is beyond the scope of the Bill.

Another point is that to compel all cars in which driving instruction is given to have dual control would mean that no private instruction could be given in family cars. The position therefore is very much as I have said. The Amendment is outside the scope of the Bill, and I think must be resisted.


I rather question the noble Lord's statement that this is outside the scope of the Bill, since dual control is necessary only during instruction; and since the Bill is to increase safety on the road and to improve the standard of instruction, I should have said it came very much within the scope of the Bill. That is merely my personal opinion, and I stand open to correction.


I think the intervention of the noble Lord is helpful when we are thinking about the problems of instruction as a whole. But I agree with my noble friend that it is beyond the scope of this Bill, which deals directly with driving instruction rather than with the construction of cars used for that purpose. While I am certain that those drafting future legislation will bear this point in mind, I think it is true to say that this is outside the scope of this Bill, and perhaps the noble Lord would be so good as to withdraw his Amendment—although, as I have said, I think his intervention has been valuable.


In that case, I very gladly withdraw this Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Remaining clauses agreed to.

Schedules agreed to.

House resumed: Bill reported with Amendments.

Then, Standing Order No. 41 having been suspended (pursuant to the Resolution of July 14), Report received.


My Lords, I beg to move that the Bill be now read a third time. In doing so, may I briefly thank all noble Lords for the manner in which the Bill has been dealt with and for the expeditious way in which it has been aided to the Statute Book.

Moved, That the Bill be now read 3a.—(Lord Lindgren.)

On Question, Bill read 3a, with the Amendments, and passed, and returned to the Commons.