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Safety Belts And Harnesses

Volume 640: debated on Wednesday 17 May 1961

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asked the Minister of Transport if he will now institute a publicity campaign by his Department to encourage car drivers to wear safety belts and harnesses.

I inaugurated a publicity campaign on 21st July last, when the British Standard was published. As recently as 27th April, I said in answer to a Question that the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders had agreed to recommend types of harness which suited their vehicles and to supply complete kits and fitting instructions. The exchange of letters between the President of the Society and myself was published. I shall continue to give my fullest support to every effort to encourage the fitting and use of effective harness.

As part of that campaign, will the Minister take steps to warn the public about unofficial bodies like the so-called British Safety Council, which are misleading the public about the qualities of safety belts?

I have said before and say again that the public ought not to buy a safety belt unless it bears the mark of the British Standards Institution on it.

Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind that it is not only a question of the mark on the belt but of how the belt is fitted into the car? Is he aware that I myself have a belt which is emblazoned with a fine mark on it, but the belt is quite unwearable because it was not properly anchored?

Knowing my hon. Friend's sagacity, I am astonished that he has not seen to the anchorage. His folly is a warning to the nation that people should look at the anchorage as well as at the belt.