Opinions from Others.
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The Editor inuites correspondence on all subjects connected with the use of commer.ial motors. Letters should he on one side of the Paper only and type-written by preference. The right of abbreviation is reserved, and no responsibility for views expressed is accepted. In the case of experiences, names of tozenS or localities may be withheld.
Is There Persecution?
A Prominent Correspondent says "No.'
The Editor, THE COMMERCIAL MOTOR.
11522] Sir,—At the present time there is an idea amongst some of those most interested in the commercial vehicle, and the useof our roads, that commercial-motor vehicles should have an absolutely free use of the roads of the country, the argument being, that free transport is of the utmost value to the commerce of the country, and that therefore, any weight and speed should be allowed, in order that cheap transport may be obtained.
They hold that no restriction or limit should be put upon vehicles carrying goods, and that no notice should be taken of the Local Government Board Order as to the use and construction of motor wagons. When road authorities protect their roads from illegal use in. defence of the ratepayers, such a question as the above, viz., " is it persecution? " is put forward as a suggestion, that the poor users of heavy motorwagons are being prevented from earning their daily bread. The farce of it all is apparent to any careful student of the heavy nabtor-wagon problem. Let us consider the question from the points of view of : (a) road authorities ; (b) other legal users of heavy motor wagons ; (c) the ratepayers ; and (d) the users of light motor vehicles who pay ad. per gallon to the Road Board for the definite purpose of road upkeep and road improvemen (a) The road authorities of this country appear ignorant of their powers to prevent illegal use of the roads. They know that their expenditure on roads has increased enormously since the introduction of the Heavy Motor Car Order, and they are beginning to realize the futility of building and maintaining roads, without taking steps to limit the load that may be put upon them. It is a fact, that 90 per cent. of the road authorities do not know, and cannot tell the exact stress their roads are bearing, at the present time. Is it persecution on their part to use all the Dowers given them by the Heavy Motor Car Order, to prevent the illegal use of their roads ? It is a fact that they have approached Mr. Burns. in reference to an alteration of the law, regarding heavy motorcars and the like, but were we in Mr. Burns's place, the obvious reply would be for him to point out that they are fully protected by Article 11 of the Heavy Motor Car Order, and that they have powers in their own hands of preventing illegal traffic, without any further alteration of the Order.
The municipal and county engineers may, however, have approached Mr. Burns, with the object of lowering the permissible axle weight, of eight tons to a smaller figure, but even then. there is no satisfactory proof that they themselves have actually ascertained the actual axle weights of heavy motor vehicles running through the country. Tt cannot be called persecution, if the road anthorities. after five years of trial of the working of the Heavy Motor Car Order, make up their minds to defend the roads under their charge from abuse and destruction.
(b) From the point of view of legal users of heavy motor wagons, it is of vital importance. Many owners of legal vehicles carrying legal loads for hire, cannot make a living in comparison with the weights carried by the illegal users. We are always having brought to our notice the comparison between the results obtained from the illegal heavy motor wagon, and those obtained from a wagon built and run within the limits of the Order.
(0) From the ratepayers' point of view, it is abso lutely necessary that they should bring pressure to bear upon the road authorities to prohibit the abuse of the roads. They see the expenditure on roads mounting up each year, and as ratepayers, in defence of themselves, they should require their road authorities to take every action to prevent the misuse of the roads.
(d) As users of a light motorcar, it makes us angry to think that the :id. per gallon, which we pay to the Road Board and which is used by the Board for surface improvement, should be wasted by being worn away, and torn up by vehicles of illegal axle weights, who pay a paltry Li 1s. during the whole of their existence for a licence to destroy, misuse, cut up, and break down, the roads we are taxed to upkeep. We, with our light vehicle, may perhaps pocket the surface of the roads, but we are not destroying and crushing the road formation from the surface to the foundation, as is done by the self-propelled vehicle with steel tires running with an illegal axle weight.
Under the circumstances, there is not persecution. The road authorities must carry out their duties and protect the results of our money, paid under the petrol tax. from being misused and destroyed. No, Sir, there is not persecution, but blind justice.— Yours faithfully, " ANNOYED."
Is There Persecution?
The Bolton Cases Were Technical.
The Editor, THE COMMERCIAL MOTOR.
11523] Sir,—My attention has been called to a letter appearing in your issue of 28th March (1519) from "Puzzled Lancashire Councillor." I have looked up the cases to which he refers, and find that most of the prosecutions were for merely technical offences and in very few places, other than Bolton, would have been taken up, or if they had been, and had come before the court, the penalties would have been nominal ones only. With regard to the subscription to a club for paying fines by drivers, this has come in for criticism by the Borough prosecutor at Bolton before and was described by him as a deliberate defiance of the law. You, Sir, very rightly remark that very few carriers do habitually defy the law, and that those who do have no sympathy from their colleagues who prefer to carry on a legitimate trade in a legitimate manner. I come into contact with a large number of motorhaulage contractors, and most of them condemn overloading and overspeed. It is not always possible tc avoid either, and some little latitude might reasonably be allowed to those who try to carry on their business with due regard to the public welfare. Personally I should like to see a Fines Fund for Drivers become general amongst carriers, as I am convinced that it would operate in the proper direction and keep before drivers a higher sense of their responsibilities. As to its being characterized as "defiance of the law," I presume that a man would not necessarily be convicted of arson if he took out an insurance policy and afterwards had a fire, and yet it is a precisely similar thing.
With all due respect to this "Puzzled Councillor," T hardly think he is quite as unprejudiced as he would have us believe, and T would suggest to him that Ke make a closer study of the usefulness performed by this method of transport, instead of the comparatively small number of prosecutions, in an endeavour to make them assume proportions quite in conflict with the actual state of affairs,—Yours faithfully, " THE ADVOCATE."