§ Mr. George
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) what evidence he has concerning the relative safety standards of part-time and full-time coach drivers; and what reply he gave to trade union leaders who recently expressed their concern on this matter;
(2) if, in the light of evidence supplied to him by the hon. Member for Walsall, South, he will investigate the extent to which part-time drivers are employed on public service vehicles and exceeding maximum permitted driving hours, and take any necessary steps to curb this practice.647W
§ Dr. Gilbert
A note by Dr. Hunt of Cambridge published last year and studies by the Department of serious accidents in 1974 and 1975 do not indicate any significant difference between the accident rates of part-time and full-time coach drivers. I am considering, however, whether a further departmental study would be useful.
The Traffic Commissioners propose in future to establish the amount of an applicant's driving experience in each of the previous three years before granting the renewal of a public service vehicle driving licence. In addition the Department is consulting interested organisations about a proposal that individual control books be introduced for drivers of certain classes of passenger vehicles so that the driver's hours regulations might be more effectively enforced.