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Volume 649: debated on Wednesday 15 November 1961

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Road Vehicles (Noise)


asked the Minister of Transport what steps he is now taking to prevent excessive noise from the engines of all types of vehicles using the roads.

We are preparing new regulations based on the British Standard for a method of measurement, which was issued last month; on the proposed British Standard for sound level meters; on the results of tests on the actual noise emitted by vehicles; and the effect of various levels of sound on the hearers. I cannot yet say when the work in this complex field will be completed.

Does my hon. Friend agree that while only a minority of road users make this noise, they should be dealt with severely and as soon as possible?

That is exactly why we are pressing on as quickly as we can with the proposed new regulations. I do not, however, want to hold out any hopes that we will be able to act all that quickly, because, as I have said, this is a complex matter.

Exhaust Purifiers


asked the Minister of Transport whether he has made arrangements for the test of the latest United States lorry exhaust purifier; and what plans he has for dealing with this problem in England and Wales.

I understand that the United States authorities are urging on American motor manufacturers certain devices to prevent the escape from the crankcase of unburned hydro-carbons which leak past the pistons. It may be that it is these that my hon. Friend has in mind. They do nothing to purify or suppress exhaust fumes, and have in fact been fitted to most petrol engined vehicles manufactured in this country since the nineteen-thirties. It is more difficult to adapt them to diesel engined vehicles, and fewer are so fitted. The police and our technical officers do all they can to enforce the existing law throughout the country; new regulations to prohibit the use of the excess fuel device while vehicles are in motion come into effect on 1st January next.



asked the Minister of Transport whether he is satisfied that the existing practice with regard to the location of trafficator lights on motor vehicles is satisfactory; and if he will now make a statement.

Positional limits for the fitting of trafficators laid down in Regulations are necessarily fairly wide because of the number of different kinds of vehicle to which they are fitted. We have no evidence that manufacturers fit indicators in positions in which they are not adequately visible to other road users.

Is my hon. Friend aware that it is not that they are not adequately visible? It is that they are very much too visible on occasions. There are many motor cars one meets in London whose trafficator lights are a positive menace and a nuisance, especially on dark and rainy nights? Would my hon. Friend not have a look at the matter to see whether he cannot make recommendations to motor manufacturers about it?

I answered my hon. Friend's Question, which referred to the location of trafficator lights and not their brilliance. I will look into the point, but I should add, for the benefit of the House, that we have already done a great deal of work on the subject of the brilliance of trafficator lights and that we hope to announce a decision very soon.

Driving Licences (Eyesight Tests)


asked the Minister of Transport whether he will introduce legislation to ensure that all persons aged 60 years and over undergo an eyesight test on applying for renewal of a driving licence.

At the beginning of every driving test a candidate is asked to read a number plate at a distance of 25 yards; if he cannot do so the test is cancelled. Drivers seeking renewal of their driving licences must declare whether they can read a motor car number plate 25 yards away. Licensing authorities refuse a licence application or revoke an existing licence if they become aware that a driver's eyesight does not reach that standard. I do not think that further legislation is required.