§ Colonel HOWARD-BURY
asked the Minister of Transport when he proposes to fix a date for the Road Traffic Act to come into force; whether Part I, that deals with the speed limit, and the dangerous driving clauses are to come into force at once; when it is proposed to enforce the regulations regarding compulsory insurance and the control of public service vehicles; and when the road code is to be drawn up?
§ Mr. D. G. SOMERVILLE
asked the Minister of Transport the approximate date or dates on which he intends to bring into force the various sections of the Road Traffic Bill?
§ Mr. HERBERT MORRISON
A number of regulations have to be made and machinery has to be set up before the Road Traffic Act can be brought fully into operation. A statutory obligation is also placed on me to consult with representative bodies before any regulations are made. I cannot therefore, at the moment, although I am most anxious to avoid any unnecessary delay, give a definite undertaking as to the dates on which the various provisions of the Act will become operative. The dates which I have in mind and to which I shall work, are approximately as follows:
Part 1.—I have given anxious consideration to the question of the date at which the change in the law as to speed limits can most conveniently operate and have come to the conclusion that this should be from the 1st January next. By that date I hope that it may be possible to issue the Highway Code and local authorities will have had reasonable time to consider and arrange for the organisation of mobile 526W police units as contemplated by the provisions of the Act. As regards the remainder of Part 1, I have in mind the first of November. It would hardly be practicable to make the necessary Regulations with regard to the form of the driving licence and applications for licences and declarations as to physical fitness, and also to make arrangements for these documents to be printed in large numbers and made available for licensing authorities before that date.
Part II, which deals with cover against third party risks, should come into operation on 1st January, 1931, the date which is the beginning of the licensing year for motor vehicles.
Part III (amendment of the law relating to highways) on 1st November, 1930.—I attach great importance to the highway code and shall lose no time in bringing it into force, but as it will affect all classes of road users whose views I shall have to take into account, and as in addition it requires an affirmative resolution by both Houses before coming into force, it is impossible for me to indicate precisely the date on which the code will itself become operative.
Part IV (Regulation of Public Service Vehicles).—I propose that the sections of this part of the Act, which provide the necessary machinery for the appointment of the Traffic Commissioners, etc., should come into force on 1st November; as also the sections giving the Traffic Commissioners when appointed the necessary powers to execute their duties, consider applications for licences, etc. The requirement, however, that omnibus and motor coach services cannot be operated except under a road service licence granted by the Commissioners will not become operative before 1st March, 1931, at the earliest. The bringing into force of this part of the Act will necessitate the employment of my powers to make transitory provisions.
Part V of the Act, which deals with the operation of municipal omnibus services, I propose shall come into force on 1st January next.
I should point out that it may be necessary to postpone the operation of individual sections of the Act.