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Transport

Volume 527: debated on Wednesday 5 May 1954

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Headlamps (Dazzle)

29.

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation the total number of accidents in Britain during 1951, 1952 and 1953 which were attributed to dazzle by headlamps.

In 1953, 1,593 accidents or 0·9 per cent. of all accidents involving personal injury were regarded by the police as being primarily caused by dazzle from vehicle lights. The corresponding figures for 1952 were 1,272, 0·7 per cent., and for 1951, 1,602, 0·9 per cent.

But surely the Parliamentary Secretary would agree that the question of percentages is rather misleading, as one describes the percentage of accidents which has taken place after dark and the other a percentage of all accidents? Is the Parliamentary Secretary taking any steps to carry out any research in this matter with a view to avoiding dazzle and bringing an amber light of some other description?

Yes, Sir. There was a Press release from the Road Research Laboratory covering a report which it issued which went at length into the research undertaken in regard to dazzle. As I have informed the House previously, some international tests will take place later this year in the United States of America. We intend to await the outcome of these tests before altering the present regulations.

Rear Lamps (Wattage)

34.

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation if he will make regulations to establish what capacity of electric lamp bulb should be used in rear lights of vehicles to give the brightness now considered necessary, assuming that the bulb is behind non-magnifying red glass.

My right hon. Friend has announced his intention to make Regulations requiring rear lamps to be fitted, as an interim measure, with bulbs of not less than six watts. For rear lamps fitted after some future date still to be decided, we consider it preferable to lay down the required minimum luminous intensity, for Which we have already recommended a specification to manufacturers.

Public Relations Staff

46.

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation how many full-time staff in his Department are engaged on public relations work in connection with surface transport.

Is it because the Minister's record is so bad in this that, in addition to this large number, he has had to import a private advertising agent to whitewash himself?

No, Sir. It actually represents a reduction in the size of that branch since we took over from the Socialist Government.

Can the Minister tell us what these six people are doing? Are they employed in explaining the failure to sell off the lorries under the 1953 Act?

They are doing even more useful work than they did when they were appointed by the last Government.

Is this honorary officer a permanent appointment? Is it the Minister's appointment to look after the Minister's public relations or has it something to do with the Ministry?

I was very glad to avail myself of the services of a gentleman who gave distinguished service in the Ministry of Transport during the war.

That does not answer the question. Is this the Minister's personal appointment to safeguard his own public relations or has it to do with the Ministry's public relations? If the latter, why does the Minister depart from the normal, ordinary method of having full-time public relations officers?

It may be difficult for the hon. Member to understand, but a great deal of voluntary and unpaid work is still at the service of Governments of either complexion.

Road Haulage Disposal Board (Reports)

48.

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation when he expects to receive the second six-monthly report of the Road Haulage Disposal Board.