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Motor Vehicles (Spray-Reducing Attachments)

Volume 24: debated on Tuesday 25 May 1982

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asked the Secretary of State for Transport (1) when he expects to introduce regulations to require heavy lorries to be fitted with spray-reducing mudguards;(2) if his Department is consulting motor manufacturers and other motoring interests on the introduction of more effective spray-reducing attachments for motor vehicles in wet conditions;(3) what research is being conducted into the problems caused by water spray by road vehicles in wet conditions; and when it will be completed;(4) if he will seek to impose an upper speed limit for heavy lorries to reduce water spray in wet road conditions.

My Department has carried out a considerable amount of research into the problem of vehicle spray in conjunction with the University of Southampton and the Transport and Road Research Laboratory, and some vehicle and component manufacturers are conducting their own investigations.As a result of this research, and in response to a request from this Department, the British Standards Institution is now examining the formulation of a standard spray reduction equipment that could be used as a basis for regulations. The major operators' associations and manufacturers are participating in this work. The work has only just started, and there is much to be done; I cannot say when it will be completed, but I have made it clear that the Government are determined to find solutions to the problem as soon as this can practically be done. The use of spray reduction equipment is an important ancillary step in improving road conditions where heavy lorries have to travel in wet weather.An additional upper speed limit for heavy lorries in wet conditions would entail problems of both definition and enforcement. On motorways, however, it is open to the police to take account of wet conditions in deciding whether to signal temporary advisory speed limits.