HL Deb 28 April 1982 vol 429 cc865-6

2.42 p.m.

Lord Strathcarron

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 what steps they propose to take to discourage the use of high-intensity rear fog lights in conditions of good visibility at night.

The Earl of Avon

My Lords, my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Transport is concerned to bring home to motorists that rear fog lamps may only be used when bad weather seriously reduces visibility. Darkness does not prevent a car on normal rear lights from being easily seen unless coupled with dense fog or similar conditions. Supporting material for the Highway Code is being amended and publicity material is being prepared to put across this message.

Lord Strathcarron

My Lords, I thank my noble friend for that very helpful reply. It will be a comfort to those motorists who are constantly blinded by what amounts to the anti-social behaviour of drivers who leave these lights on when visibility is good.

Lord Davies of Leek

My Lords, while concurring with the noble Lord's thanks to the noble Earl, is he aware that, though those of us who do a lot of night driving do not want to put more burdens on the police, there should nevertheless be more publicity about the wattage of some of the fog lights which are being used and which are purposely more intense than they should be? Could attention be drawn to this fact, because it is a menace on the highways at night?

The Earl of Avon

My Lords, I am grateful for the intervention of the noble Lord, Lord Davies of Leek, and I shall certainly bear his point about wattage in mind. Television and radio publicity material is being used at the moment, and we are hoping to get the message across.

Lord Lucas of Chilworth

My Lords, can my noble friend tell us what steps can or might be taken to discourage the practice of wiring-in high-intensity rear lights with the brake lights? Secondly, what steps can be taken to discourage the use of what might be described as decorative additional rear lights which sometimes appear in the back windows of motor cars?

The Earl of Avon

My Lords, I shall, indeed, consider what my noble friend Lord Lucas of Chilworth has said. We have, for instance, recently considered amending the regulations so as to include a visibility distance of 100 metres. Opinions among those we consulted were divided on the merits of this change and we shall not be pressing it for the moment. But distances are used on the Continent, and that may be a way of answering my noble friend's points.

Lord Gisborough

My Lords, can my noble friend say whether discouragement of these intensive lights will be mandatory or advisory?

The Earl of Avon

My Lords, there are regulations at the moment and, as I said in my original Answer, we are also taking advice about changing the Highway Code on this matter.