HC Deb 11 July 1977 vol 935 cc41-3W
Mr. Fry

asked the Secretary of State for Transport if the rate of night-time accidents is increasing faster than the number of registered vehicles; if, following the introduction of the Road Vehicles Lighting (Standing Vehicles) (Exemption) (General) (No. 2) Regulations on 30th April 1972, any disproportionate increases occurred in the number of night-time injury accidents involving parked vehicles in 30 mph areas; and if he will provide statistics relating to night-time accidents involving parked vehicles in 30 mph areas, by region and including Greater London, for comparable periods, before and after the introduction of those regulations, making due allowance for nighttime accident increases outside 30 mph areas, other relevant changes in the situation, and the effects of the energy shortage and public lighting blackouts of the winter of 1972–73.

Mr. Horam

Vehicles registered and darkness accidents in Great Britain for the period 1969–76 are as follows:

Index numbers(1969=100)
Number of road motor vehicles currently licensed Accidents in darkness Ratio of darkness to daylight accidents
1970 101 105 104
1971 105 104 108
1972 110 111 115
1973 116 109 113
1974 118 103 116
1975 119 104 116
1976 122 109 116

Over the period 1969–76 the number of road motor vehicles licensed rose steadily; there were 22 per cent. more such vehicles licensed in 1976 than in 1969. Accidents in darkness rose from 1969 to reach a peak in 1972, fell again during the fuel crisis of 1973–74, and rose again in 1975 and 1976; there were 9 per cent. more accidents in darkness in 1976 than in 1969. Darkness accidents increased relative to daylight accidents each year from 1969 to 1972, hut for the last three years daylight and darkness accidents have moved in step. In 1972 there was a sharp increase in the number of accidents in darkness; this was the year when power cuts caused street lighting to be reduced during the hours of darkness, and also when the regulations were changed to allow more parking without lights.

The effect of the introduction of the regulations of 30th April 1972 was discussed in the HMSO publication "Road Accidents in Great Britain 1972". It was thought that, an extra 1,100 vehicles parked in 30 mph areas-36 per cent. increase—were involved in injury accidents, in areas outside the Metropolitan Police District (MPD) in the year following the introduction of the new lighting regulations. It was not possible to say how far this increase was due to more vehicles being parked on the road as a result of the new regulation or how far it was because parked vehicles are inherently more dangerous when unlit. Police reports suggested that there had been a large increase in parking on the road at night.

The new regulations approximated to those already in force in the MPD and the situation in the MPD was little changed by the introduction of these regulations.

I regret that the remainder of the information asked for cannot be provided without incurring disproportionate cost.