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Visitors From Overseas (Driving Licences)

Volume 648: debated on Wednesday 8 November 1961

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asked the Minister of Transport why, under his regulations, a visitor's driving licence can be issued without it being ascertained whether the holder is proficient in driving by United Kingdom standards.

A licence of this kind is only issued to a visitor from overseas arriving in this country without a foreign driving permit or international driving permit who is prepared to sign a declaration that he is authorised to drive in his own country.

I have these arrangements at present under review.

I am not quite clear about how in a recent case someone who arrived in this country was given a driving licence after only ten hours' experience of driving in this country, with the result that there was a fatal accident. Will my right hon. Friend look into the whole question of reciprocal agreements with other countries on this very important matter?

I am looking into it, but it is obligatory on this country, under an agreement reached at the United Nations Conference on Road and Motor Transport, in 1949, to which we are a party, to provide such facilities. British visitors to other countries receive reciprocal advantages. In the case my hon. and gallant Friend mentions, which received great publicity, the girl in question knew that the declaration which she made in order to get a visitor's licence was false. However, I agree about the importance of agreements on the matter and I am looking into it.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that a man who has obtained a driving licence in a foreign country, or in one of our Colonies, is permitted to drive here without passing a test in this country?

Perhaps the hon. Member will give me details, when I will consider them.