Road Transport Activities
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By Our Special Parliamentary Correspondent
Passenger Transport Bill: No Statement.
1% i-R. BALDWIN, as Leader of the 111.1House of Commons, was asked when it was proposed to proceed with the London Passenger Transport Bill, but he was unable to make any statement at the present time. Sir Percy Harris pointed to the bad effect on London of the uncertainty of the traffic system and the uncertainty as to what was to be the law. Mr. Baldwin said he realized that.
Sir F. Hall then asked Mr. Baldwin if he was aware of the widespread feeling that it was impossible to alter the Bill, as introduced last year, in such a way that it would receive the general support of London Members of Parliame,nt. Mr. Baldwin remarked that the information had been conveyed to him. Mr. Hannon thereupon suggested that it would be better to abandon the Bill.
Examination of Vehicles.
IT was pointed out by Mr. Batey that when a bus belonging to a small company had to be examined the inspector compelled the vehicle to be taken to a place he selected. He suggested that this practice Should be stopped and the bus examined in its own garage.
Mr. Pybus observed that where an owner had a number of vehicles for examination and was able to provide the necessary facilities, it was the practice to examine them at the garage. Otherwise, in order that examination might be carried out efficiently and expeditiously, it was the practice to assemble vehicles at centres where the necessary facilities existed.
Commission and Legislation.
lirR. HUTCHISON asked the Minis.1.V_Lter of Transport whether he intended to take any action during the current year in connection with the recommendations of the third and final report of the Royal Commission on Road Transport. Mr. Pybus replied that he had these recommendations under careful consideration, but even if he were in a position to arrive at definite conclusions he doubted wliether an opportunity for promoting legislation in the matter was likely to present itself this session.
Fitness of Public Vehicles.
THE Minister of Transport stated that he would not consider introducing legislation to give permission to all coaches and buses which were on the road previous to the passing of the Road Traffic Act, if found to be in good condition, to continue to run as they were. He was satisfied that compliance with the conditions of fitness for publicservice vehicles, laid down in the regulations made under the Road Traffic Act, was essential for the safety and convenience of the public.
Act Amendment Urged. IT was suggested to the Minister of Transport by Mr. Turton that he might consider the amendment of Section 36, subsection (2), of the Road Traffic Act, so as to provide that the fee for a driver's licence should be increased by 2s. The sum thus raised should be handed over to a central fund to be paid out to the voluntary hospitals for such part of the maintenance of victims of road accidents as was not paid for by any other source.
Mr. Pybus replied that he did not feel justified in recommending the legislation which would be required to impose a compulsory levy on the drivers of all motor vehicles for this purpose.
More Traffic Signals?
1A3:1R SALMON, who had sugfligested the erection of electric traffic-control signals in Piccadilly and the streets leading therefrom, was informed by Mr. Pybus that a scheme for the erection of such apparatus in a portion of Piccadilly, at an estimated cost of £18,000, was being considered.
He was advised by the Commissioner of Police that, whilst the experience gained in Oxford Street indicated that the erection of signals in the portion of Piccadilly in question would result in economies, he was unable to give an estimate of the saving in the number of police employed at work on point duty until some actual experience of the working of the signals had been obtained.
Inquiry Into Appeal Matters.
MHE committee, under the chairman1 ship of Lord Amulree., appointed to inquire into the questions arising out of appeals against the restrictions imposed by the Metropolitan Traffic Commissioner, is to sit in public. The committee will hear representations from the parties to the appeals, and after hearing those representatives it will be for the body to decide whether it 'wishes to hear further evidence.
Ministry Staff Increases.
IT is officially stated that the staff employed in the headqUarters and divisional road offices of the Ministry of Transport numbered 729 at the date of the passing of the Road Traffic Act and is now 772. Twenty-five -of the additional appointments are required to deal with duties arising under the Road Traffic Act. In addition, 445 persons (including employees of all grades) have been appointed on the staffs of the Traffic Commissioners and as certifying officers and examiners. Street-accident Statistics Announced.
IN view of the submissions made last week to the Minister of Transport by the Pedestrians Association, the following preliminary set of statistics presented to the House of Commons by the Horne Secretary, Sir Herbert Samuel, relating to street accidents caused by vehicles and horses, during 1931, and resulting in personal injury, which came to the notice of the police, are of considerable interest :—
The total number of such accidents recorded in Great Britain was 181,486, of which 6,495 resulted in fatal injuries to one or more persons, The corresponding figures for 1930 were 156,793 and 7,074 respectively. The number of persons killed iu 1931 was 6,685 and 202,147 injured, as against 7,305 and 177,895 respectively in 1930.
Decrease in Fatal Mishaps. THE figures for England and Wales show similar changes, the total number of accidents resulting in personal injury being 165,521 (an increase of 23,127), and fatal accidents 5,851 (a
decrease of 466). In 1931 the total number of persons killed or injured in England and Wales was 190,831 (an increase of 22,329) and the number killed 6,026 (a decrease of 496). These changes in the number of persons killed and injured respectively suggest, the Home Secretary states, that the increase of the total number of accidents resulting in personal injury may be more apparent than real. It may be attributable, he thinks, to the police obtaining fuller information regarding the accidents which occurred, by reason of the institutiml of the motor patrols and the new requirements of the Road Traffic Act as to the reporting of accidents which involve damage to persons or property. In former years many such incidents were not recorded.
Fewer Accidents in London.
STATISTICS from many police districtstricts support this view, but it is to be noted, on the other hand, that those for the Metropolitan Police District show a decrease in the total number of persons injured as well as in the number killed. The totals for 1931 were 1,324 killed and 54,422 injured (not fatally), as against 1,398 and 55,827 respectively in 1930. In Glasgow the number of persons killed OF injured was 5,904, which is nearly 300 less than in 1930. Wales, as a whole, had a total of 232 killed and 7,422 injured, as compared with 270 killed and 5,816 injured during 1930. In Scotland the corresponding totals show a decrease of 124 killed and an increase of 1,427 injured, the totals for the year 1931 being 659 and 17,342 respectively.