§ Mr. Gregory
asked the Secretary of State for Transport whether he has received his Railway Inspecting Officer's report on the derailment that occurred on 24 June 1984 at Morpeth; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. David Mitchell
I have received this report, which includes a number of recommendations for preventing a recurrence of this type of accident. Copies are available562W in the Library. A number of the recommendations are for the British Railways Board, and I look forward to receiving its formal reply. Other recommendations are appropriate for Government consideration. These include:—
- 1. Introducing statutory powers to require staff involved with the safety of others on the Railway to submit to a breath, blood or urine test for alcohol
- (a) if there is any doubt about their sobriety when signing on for duty; or
- (b) if it is considered that alcohol may have been a contributory factor to an accident.
- 2. Considering the extension of any new statutory powers to staff with similar responsibilities in other transport industries who are not covered by existing legislation for testing for alcohol levels; and
- 3. Modernising the language of the relevant sections of the Regulation of the Railaways Act 1842 and the Offences Against the Person Act 1861; making it an offence for any railwayman to be so under the influence of alcohol or drugs that he jeopardises the safety of others; and ensuring that scales of punishment apply automatically to all railways.
The Government will consider these recommendations very carefully in consultation with the industries concerned and will then report their conclusions to the House.