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Accident, Auchterarder

Volume 527: debated on Wednesday 5 May 1954

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27 and 28.

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation (1) if his attention has been called to the road accident which took place near Auchterarder on 24th April when five people lost their lives; and if he will hold an inquiry;

(2) what was the width of the road at the spot where the accident took place near Auchterarder on 24th April resulting in the loss of five lives; if the roadway at this point had white or black coping stones; and if the roadway had reflector studs.

The width of the carriageway at the scene of the accident was 27 ft. and there were reflecting studs down the centre. There were no black and white coping stones but a well defined turf verge. Investigations so far made suggest that no useful purpose would be served by an inquiry. I do not however exclude the possibility of holding one later.

Does the Minister propose to find out exactly what the cause of the accident was?

We are carrying out an informal investigation at the present time, but the hon. Member asked for an inquiry, and if it is shown that there is any need for it after our investigations have been concluded, then it will be held.

Does not the Minister recognise that a well-defined turf verge is not as suitable as well-defined coping stones?

I entirely disagree. There may frequently be cases where it is possible for a vehicle in order to avoid an accident to go on to the grass verge, whereas it would not be possible if there were a coping stone.

Surely the purpose of a white coping stone is to aid the driver during night driving? Is the Parliamentary Secretary not aware that with a dark verge the driver is sometimes unaware whether he is or is not on the road?

Yes, but this accident was not due to the driver going over the side of the road. The driver himself says that he saw the car draw out of the approaching line of traffic and he then flashed his fog light as a warning but the car came on and struck his off-side. Obviously, in those circumstances, a coping stone would not have had any bearing on the accident.