What They Said About the Papers
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LEGAL TROUBLES OUTLINED.
nPENING the discussion on Mr.
Sandelson's paper, Mr. H. Backhouse, Junr., referred to impending consolidating legislation, and ventured the opinion that the industry was not ready for it. The troubles of haulage contractors were not so much due to the Act of 1933 as to the way in which that Act was being administered.
Administration was in the hands of civil servants. What was not realized was that this tendency, in which regulation by bureaucracy was taking the place of properly conducted legal procedure. was likely to spread. We were likely, if some stay were not made, to find ourselves subject to Ministerial and not Magisterial control.
• As regards licences, he advocated automatic renewal : that was much more important than any question of period of currency. Objectors, he said, must be called upon to prove their objections before the applicant was required to appear.
He suggested that a compensation fund should be established, to which all members of the haulage industry, including the railway companies, should contribute. From that fund hauliers who were dispossessed of their licences on account of redundancy should be compensated. Referring to the problem of the sale of a haulage business, he urged that the only condition governing the " transfer " of licences should be: " Is the prospective purchaser a fit and proper person to hold a licence? "
Mr. Macadam referred to the fact that the small type of operator is often given advice by the staff of the Licensing Authorities, which, whilst it inay have been proffered in good faith, is not in the best interests of the haulier concerned.
Mr. Topham was of the opinion that the compensation fund should be abstracted from the Road Fund. He was, however, afraid that the suggestion of such a scheme was in itself equivalent to an admission of redundancy.
Mr. T. Fraser emphasized the importance of hauliers presenting a united front. He also urged that more be done in the way of propaganda.
Mr. C. B. Nixon thought that the amendment of the constitution of the traffic courts was a fundamental necessity. The time was approaching when the use of the unladen weight of a vehicle as a basis for licensing in any form should cease.
Mr. L. Gupwell asked that more attention be paid to true co-ordination. The Act, as it was being administered, was not really useful. He suggested a one-day strike of all the goods vehicles on the road as a means for bringing their grievances prominently before the authorities.
f Ferrington said that, in his experience as an operator of passenger vehicles, the procedure of the Ministry is, first, to lull the operator into a sense of security and then to whittle away his rights by a succession of inquisitorial forms.
Mr. Robinson said that the continued prosperity of the industry depended on success in " getting together."
Mr. J. Gaunt declared that the Act. as it was now administered, was quite different from what was envisaged when the Salter Report was issued.
GOOD RESULTS FROM SAFETY EFFORTS.
f EADING the debate on Major 1-4Godfrey's address, Col. Pickard referred to the fact that a large number of the accidents to children in which commercial vehicles figured occurred when they were restarted, or, perhaps, reversed, after making a delivery or collection. He thought that employers should make a special point of instructing their drivers to take particular care on these occasions.
Taking into consideration the growth of the industry and the increase in the number of vehicles on the road since 1930, there was justification for a claim that good had resulted from the efforts made to decrease accidents.
Capt. J. B. Walton described how Unilever, Ltd., has tackled the problem, at least in some of its aspects. The organization had, he said, laid down certain standards of fitness and health for its drivers. In the course of a preliminary examination of 232 men, 51 failed to reach that standard. Of the 51, however, 40 were able to pass after undergoing treatment. It was intended to adopt the same procedure with the 1,800 men employed.
Mr. J. L. John said that in Swansea they were preparing to make extensive use of the camera and cine-camera as a means for inculcating the principles of safety first in the schools.
Mr. C. E. Douthwaite referred to mistakes which, he said, were so often made in the location of pedestrian crossings, particularly in relation to stopping places for trams and buses. It was to be regretted, he said, that the authorities concerned were disinclined to take steps to remedy such defects.
Mr. E. V. Ralph asked whether there was any means for testing the eyesight of a driver at night. He referred to an experience of his which seemed to show that some such test might be advisable in certain cases.
Some control should be exercised over drivers of vehicles travelling in convoy to ensure that they "maintained stations " sufficiently far apart to ensure the convenience of other vehicles wishing to overtake them. Mr. Topha.m opined that courtesy was an important factor in road safety. He thought there ought to be powers to forbid the display of coloured illuminated advertisement signs which were likely to cause confusion.
Mr. C. Smith also emphasized the need for improved roads. There should be more collaboration in this matter, he thought, between the Ministry, road engineers and the police.
Mr. C. B. Nixon pointed out that the animal mileage of the average commercial vehicle was considerably in excess of that travelled by a private car. This fact, he thought, ought to he taken into consideration when assessing liability for accident& Mr. J. Gaunt said he was about to commence a personal investigation of the international aspects of these matters.
CONTROVERSY ON ECONOMICS. WHY had no reference been made to VI' steamers, producer-gas, the Still engine and the Erren system, asked Mr. C. le M. Gosselin, in discussing Capt. Walton's paper? He declared that the latest type of steam wagon would run 45 miles per cwt. of coke. He thought that Capt. Walton had been too optimistic about the electric.
Mr. Macadam thought that, if the steamer had received the same amount of attention as the petrol vehicle, it would have been prominent to-day. He considered body design to be important.
Mr. H. M. Lawrence, a large user of steamers, found them less expensive than petrol vehicles. He deprecated extravagant claims for compressed gas. The weight of cylinders might be diminished if gas of high thermal value were used.
Mr. Geoffrey Gosselin thought that the compression-ignition engine would ultimately prevail, because of its
superior thermal efficiency. A disadvantage, in his experience, was the lack of braking effect, which reacted by increasing the maintenance cost of brakes.
Mr. Kennett said that the apparent economy of the electric was offset by its limited radius. The cost of operating petrol vehicles was decreasing. whilst the oiler was best for loads of 6 tons and upwards, and especially for trailer work. He is trying out a 20-cwt. oiler, he added.
Mr. Scott Hall declared that the maintenance cost of oilers was still a moot point.
Mr. Willis thought there was a better time coming for the electric and hoped that the present belated effort-to revive the steamer would bear fruit
Mr. Gaunt had found that the oiler WWI capable of 33 per cent. greater mileage than a steamer, at less cost.
Discussion on Mi. Birch's paper will be reported next week.