The Government are committed to ensuring that courts have sufficient powers to deal with dangerous driving and will soon commence a consultation looking at driving offences and penalties. Rental companies can check Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency driver records and should not be renting vehicles to unsafe drivers. The British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association has a code of conduct it expects its members to comply with, and, if concerned, the public can contact the BVRLA or trading standards.
In my area, and across the UK, a large number of accidents and deaths have been caused by inexperienced drivers, who often hire high-performance cars for just a few days at a time. Later this month, the Lancashire Telegraph will launch a dangerous driving campaign looking at this and many other aspects of road safety. Will the Minister join me in supporting the campaign, which aims to shine a light on what is happening on our roads?
My hon. Friend makes an important point about road safety, which is a critical issue, because, despite our enviable national record, 1,730 people lost their lives on British roads last year. Media campaigns in this area can be very helpful, so I do, indeed, support the Lancashire Telegraph campaign in principle, and I look forward to hearing more when it starts.
I, too, am supporting that campaign, and we have seen numerous incidents across east Lancashire, but would the Government not accept that one thing that is not helping on motorways is the fact that local government cuts mean that motorway lights are being turned off?
There is no evidence that any of the changes taking place on our motorways are impacting on road safety; in fact, it is the other way round—our motorways are some of the safest roads on our network, and our network is among the safest in the world.
Does the Minister agree that anyone with points on their licence indicating a number of offences should be excluded from the rental of cars with above a 2-litre engine? Would he consider co-operation with the police and insurance companies on this issue?
The hon. Gentleman makes a very interesting point. I do not think we can necessarily exclude people from a marketplace, but, of course, all the rental companies do have access to driver records, and I will take that idea forward.