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Motorway Safety

Volume 86: debated on Monday 11 November 1985

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asked the Secretary of State for Transport what representations he has received regarding motorway safety following the accident on the M6 on 21 October; and if he will make a statement.

I have received some 1,000 letters from members of the public, and 33 from hon. Members. Although motorways remain our safest roads, there is still scope for improvements in driver behaviour. As the House knows, I am looking particularly at every aspect of the safety and speed of vehicles on motorways, especially coaches. I shall announce our conclusions on this as soon as possible.

Will my hon. Friend tell the House the most helpful things that drivers could do to prevent accidents on motorways?

If drivers would slow down and keep a safe distance behind the vehicle in front—that means an even longer distance at night and in bad weather—there would be far fewer accidents.

Does the Minister agree that speeding and bad driving on motorways are often encouraged by the lack of a police presence? Will she consult her right hon. Friend the Home Secretary to make certain that motor vehicles manned by the police are on motorways to ensure that the laws are obeyed?

I assure the hon. Gentleman that I am already doing so, and I am having further meetings about enforcement. If people drive safely only when they see a car with stripes down the side and a blue lamp on top, we shall still have accidents that are avoidable. It behoves every driver to improve his driving and his lane discipline. I hope that this awful series of crashes will bring home to people how much they have to do to avert such terrible tragedies.

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Is it not a bit of a record that we have reached only question No. 9?