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Motor Licences (Reminders)

Volume 245: debated on Wednesday 19 November 1930

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asked the Minister of Transport whether he will issue instructions that those licensing authorities which are accustomed to issue reminders to drivers that their licences have expired shall be entitled to continue this practice under the new Road Traffic Act regulations?

I am satisfied that it is necessary that there should be uniformity of practice in this matter, as difficulties have arisen in cases where a person has moved from an area in which reminders are issued to another in which they are not. After careful consideration I have reached the conclusion that the expense entailed by the adoption universally of the practice of issuing reminders would not be justified. It would be necessary for all licensing authorities to maintain special card indexes for the purpose and in the aggregate to address and send through the post between 2,500,000 and 3,000,000 forms. I have therefore notified licensing authorities that as from 1st December the cost of issuing these reminders cannot be accepted as a charge against the Road Fund.

Is it not the fact that the licensing authorities which adopt this practice do so now in the interests of economy; and cannot the Department adopt the business principle that courtesy and consideration for the convenience of customers will in the long run lead to efficiency?

I do not think that the licensing authorities do it in the interests of economy. It may be so, in one or two cases, but I think it just an instance of the normal desire of the official machine to be very courteous to everybody. That is probably the reason, but I really cannot see that the step is justified. Licences are carried by drivers. The driver always has his licence with him, and one has a right to assume that people who have the responsibility of driving cars are aware of their obligations in this respect.

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that many people completely support him in this sensible action in the interests of economy? Why should people have to be reminded of these obligations?