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13th August 1929, Page 53
13th August 1929
Page 53
Page 54
Page 53, 13th August 1929 — IMPORTANT VIEWS
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What Prominent Men in the Industry Think of the Recommendations Dealing With the Control of Road Traffic.

IN view of the vital bearing upon future legislation which is bound to be exercised by the recently issued report of the Royal Commission on Transport, dealing with that section of its inquiries connected with the control of traffic on roads, it is interesting to note with what reception it is meeting at the hands of important parties connected with the use of commercial motors. Below we give a few of the letters received, and. it will be noted that, in general, the recommendations of the commission meet with the approval of the gentlemen concerned.

It must be remembered that the views expressed in the report take the form of recommendations only, and at present are not embodied in any statute. Therefore, it is an opportune time to discuss in full the merits and demerits of the items, so that any features which demand further attention, when the suggestions come before Parliament in due course, may be promptly tackled at that time.

Mr. Geo. Monro, C.B.E.

(President of the Commercial Motor Users • Association).

"Individual criticisms of particular recommendations of the Royal Commission on Transport there are bound to be but there will, I think, be common consent that the Commission has tackled the first part of what is undoubtedly a very great problem, with commendable promptness and in a businesslike manner, and I think that, generally speaking, the report and recommendations will be received • with favour by operators of commercial-motor vehicles of all types.

",The Commercial Motor Users 'Association is particularly gratified to find that 'many of the proposals which it has advocated for years, and which were 'put before the Commission by way of evidence, have been accepted, and now form part of its recommendations. It was submitted by the Association, inter alia, that the modern type of commercial-motor vehicle weighing up to 2i tons when unladen was an extremely useful vehicle in rural areas and could be operated with advantage to the community, and this type should accordingly be encouraged. The Commission has accepted the suggestion of the Association that the unladen weight of a heavy motorcar should be increased from 2 tons (the present legal limit) to 2i• tons.

"The C.M.U.A. has urged for many years that railway level-crossings, of which there are about 254) of more than ordinary importance on Class I roads alone, are a source of considerable delay and congestion to all forms of traffic, as well as a potential source of danger to the railway through the risk of a road vehicle derailing a train. The recommendation of the Commission that the Minister of Transport should, without delay, formulate and give effect to a programme for the speedy elimination of these levelcrossings on all classified roads is both appropriate and timely.

"One of the most important recommendations, which will not only affect the commercial-motor user, but the community as a whole, is that legislation on the subject of the general control of traffic on roads is long overdue and should be enacted without delay. It is to be sincerely hoped that the Government will, immediately Parliament re-assembles in the autumn, introduce a measure dealing with this important problem, and arrange for the necessary time to be devoted to secure, so soon as possible, the passage of such a measure.

"Road-motor users will welcome the recommendation that the Ministry of Transport should compile comprehensive statistics of the causes of road accidents. One result would undoubtedly show that many of the accidents which are now attributable to drivers of road-motor vehicles are, in fact, due to the carelessness of pedestrians in practising what has now become known as `jay-walking,' to which the Commission specifically directs attention.

"With regard to the speed of commercial-motor vehicles, there would not appear to be any justification for placing such a low limit as 20 m.p.h. upon a heavy pneumatic-tyred goods motorcar, i.e., a vehicle exceeding 2i tons in weight unhiden,•particularly when it is' borne in mind that in recent years there has been a great advance in the general design and construction of these vehicles; the springing, steering and braking systems have been materially improved, and pneumatic tyres are rapidly becoming a universal fitnaent. This recommendation will, no doubt, call for considerable criticism.

"The report and recommendations of the Royal Commission will, in due course, be exhaustively considered by the National Council of the C.M.U.A., in conjunction with the observations which will be furnished by its Divisional and Area Committees throughout the country, and I therefore refrain from expressing detailed views upon the whole of the recommendations."

GEO,. MoNan.

Garner Motors, Ltd.

"The recommendations will, without doubt, very greatly, assist the commercial-vehicle trade as a whole, and the allocation to goods vehicles, fitted with pneumatic tyres, weighing under 2i tons, of a speed limit of 30 m.p.h., is especially gratifying to users. As these vehicles will obtain on January 1st the longdelayed benefit of correct taxation it will materially help this size and class of vehicle to come into its own as a very economical proposition.

"The suggestion of the Commission that a licence to drive one of these vehicles0(21 tons unladen weight) be issued only to a person 21 years of age or over is certainly a correct one.

"The difficulty of third-party insurance, which has long been a vexatious question, can, I feel sure, be overcome if it be made imperative that the policy and the licence go together and the transfer of both be made a part of the deal. To make things secure, thirdparty insurance should also be attached to trade number plates, and renewable with their licences."


Walter Gammons, Ltd.

With only a few hours at my disposal before leaving for Cornwall, I regret I cannot give greater consideration to the above report before expressing my, opinions, but I may say that I am in full agreement with your views as expressed in yourEditoriaI, and in the main with the report of the, Commission. It is, indeed, a relief to findV that this body appears to be anxious to do the right thing, and has not adopted

the pro-railway attitude, yet I fear it has not quite grasped the importance of the commercial road-transport industry, in relation to either the present or the future.

"I do considerable travelling by road, and it does seem to me absurd to limit the speed of the modern coach. Only yesterday a considerable number of them passed me en route for London from Lancashire, Yorkshire and Scotland, at speeds varying from 45 m.p.h. to 50 m.p.h.; I always admire the splendid way in which these vehicles are handled. It cannot be gainsaid that the drivers are really skilful, take practically no risks and show the greatest consideration to others. My experience of the average driver of com mercial vehicles is the same. All these men take their business very seriously; after all, it is their bread and butter, and they fully realize their responsibilities, and it cannot be denied that this method of travel is enabling thousands of people to see their country in comfort who otherwise would never do so. (Personally, I have seen more of my country during the past ten years than I did in the previous thirty-five years.) "I respectfully submit that nobody is a penny the worse for the present speed's as practised by commercial vehicles generally, goods or passenger, whereas if the legal speeds were adhered to these services would be rendered impossible, because the journeys would take too long for the customer and vehicle owner. To limit the speed of this class of traffic is to handicap the most capable men on the road. Their duties are already sufficiently onerous and their nerves are always on edge in respect of speed limits; restrictions only tend to traffic congestion. Experience proves that the question of speed can safely ke left to the drivers of commercial vehicles, and I maintain that ex-officio they are of more importance than purely pleasureseekers ; therefore they should be at an advantage rather than at a disadvantage, especially in view of the tax. Speed is the enemy of congestion whether on rail or road, "The real dangers and positive nuisances on the roads to-day are the reckless youths with sports cars and motorcycles, who flounder about at the expense of what I term 'legitimate ' traffic. My doctor is getting so accustomed to their accidents that he recently remarked to me over one case, 'another 305. for me and another silly idiot off the roads '; a certain coroner has since uttered similar remarks. But for the care exercised by the majority of car and lorry drivers the accidents to these youths would be appalling.

"As you rightly remark, the Commission seems to have realized that commercial transport by road is of such vast importance, representing so much capital and direct and indirect employment to so many people, that it must be given some real measure of protection and encouragement. We can only hope the Government will take the same view, and not follow the suicidal policy of its pro-railway predecessor.

"For nearly a century the railway companies heldtile view that the public mnst arrange its business to conform to the narrow limits of their whims and fancies. Taking advantagesof the railway companies' mistakes, the road concerns have been all out to give the public what it needs and, despite all handicaps imposed by people who should have known better, the road companies' success has been wonderful. I reiterate that commercial road transport is a tremendous asset to the nation, and will become increasingly so, hence it deserves. every conceivable encouragement. Cheese-paring will only prove the most expenSive in the end, and it behoves our Government to take time by the forelock by relieving the industry of all possible taxation and making roads to fit the vehicles instead

of wasting money on-futile efforts to fit a square peg in a round hole. Rid the industry of some of its presAnt oppressive taxation and Work will be found for many thousands of unemployed, and thousands of pounds sterling will be saved which are now lost in congested areas, due to the excessive use of the otherwise

s28 obsolete horse. The far-seeing statesman will legislate for the protection and encouragement of road transport instead of boosting methods of transport which have now become obsolete.

"In regard to the alleged nuisance of coaches, buses and lorries parking in the streets for a return load, I think the position has always been exaggerated. The police and local tradespeople always pounce upon these 'foreigners,' whereas they appear not to see local vehicles which stand hours longer. I am speaking from practical experience when I say that a Londonowned vehicle can wait unmolested in London for an hour whilst a provincial vehicle must not wait a minute, despite the fact that the driver is often a stranger and has no idea where to go out of sight for a minute or two. Railway-van drivers can dawdle almost indefinitely, whilst a provincial driver is practically followed to our office. In some cases the man of the law has arrived first, owing to the difficulty of the driver finding his way. Again, the young man with his sports model occupies the car park instead of coming to the office by train or bus, whilst the man engaged in serious business, and having travelled all night, is hardly afforded the right to stop his wheels. The Commercial Motor says: 'that American tourists appreciate English coaches '; apparently the English tradespeople do not, despite the money brofight into their town ; a fact too often lost sight of. Railway stations are hardly a criterion; provision for their upkeep is charged for in rates and fares. As you state, the road transporter is doing everything possible to find a home from home for a few hours, but the fact is that that home wants finding!

"Generally speaking, I am of opinion that the commission's recommendations are good."

WALTER GAMMONS, Managing Director.

Messrs. Chenard-Wakker Tractors.

"With reference to your leading article dealing with the Royal Commission's report, we are rather alarmed at the following statement which you make under the heading The Maximum Speeds for Business Vehicles' : We strongly advocate that this limit should be raised to 25 m.p.h., etherwise the long-distance haulage of medium and heavy loads will experience a severe setback. This remark does not apply to the motor tractor, for which 20 m.p.h. should be ample.'

"The modern road-haulage tractor, as instanced by our latest product, is capable of maintaining very high speeds with a tally loaded trailer with every degree of safety. This is obtained by the patented designs of trailer, coupling and rigid drawbar, combined with an efficient braking system.

"As you are aware, the Chenard-Walcker tractor engine is governed to 38 m.p.h. During the recent tests, however, with the governor removed, speeds of 50 .m.p.h. were comfortably held, and it was found impossible to create trailer oscillation.

"In your issue of July 3rd a demonstration ifas reported with a 10-ton load: 'speeds of 30 m.p.h. were comfortably held.'

" As we cater to a large extent for the long-distance hdulage contractor, may we be excused for criticizing your statement, which infers that tractors are of necessity slow-moving vehicles. " We venture to suggest that this statement applies only to that type of tractor which originates as an agricultural unit, and which is utilized mainly for short hauls and inter-factOry work, drawing trailers which are .often obsolete in design and consequently unfit for high speeds." C, J. BOUCITER, Manager.

[We quite realize that there are certain types of tractor monntV on pneumatic tyres and fully sprung which are capable of running with safety at much higher, speeds than 20 m.p.h. while hauling a trailer, and the remark as to our agreeing with a speed of 20 m.p.h. for tractors applied, in the main, to haulage units on which solid tyres are employed, or where either pair of wheels is unsprung.—ED.3

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