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Road Accidents

Volume 465: debated on Monday 30 May 1949

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7.

asked the Minister of Transport whether he has any information as to the effects of the special pedestrian traffic week from 3rd to 9th April last; and whether there has been any substantial fall in the number of road accidents as a result.

I cannot at present add much to the reply given to the hon. and gallant Member for Glasgow, Central (Colonel Hutchison) on 11th April. The improvement in the behaviour of road users noted during the week will, I hope, be maintained. I cannot yet answer the last part of the Question, since detailed analysis of the accident figures for April has not yet been completed.

8.

asked the Minister of Transport whether he will state the number of accidents during the three years. 1946, 1947 and 1948, caused by the colliding of motor vehicles with cattle straying on to the highway; and whether, in view of the increase in fast moving road traffic, he will consider legislation placing a legal obligation on the owner of land abutting on to the highway to maintain hedges or fences so as to prevent his animals from straying on to the highway.

I regret that this information is not available. A system of detailed road accident statistics was started on 1st January last which will enable such particulars to be extracted and examined. On the present evidence I do not feel justified in considering so far-reaching a measure as that suggested by my hon. Friend.

Will my right hon. Friend consult the Attorney-General to see whether something cannot be done in this direction to remove this anachronism, which entitles owners of land abutting the highway to be negligent and cause injury to other people through their animals straying, particularly at night?

I have no objection to consulting my right hon. and learned Friend the Attorney-General, but this is a very far-reaching proposal.

Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind that if he consults the Attorney-General on the matter he may discover that the proposed change in the law, so far from being a far-reaching matter of policy, is a very simple and long overdue reform, and that he may then be able to answer the Question a little more favourably?