Council Acquitted in Steering Case
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A FTER a first hearing at which two magistrates failed to agree, a charge against Beckenham Corporation of permitting a 20-year-old vehicle to be used with ineffective steering was recently dismissed by Bromley Court because of
conflicting evidence. A case against the driver was also dismissed. The lorry, a Dennis 4-toriner, was described as of "good old robust construction."
In another recent case of this kind, a conviction against a London haulage concern and a driver was quashed by Mr. Laurence Vine, deputy-chairman of the County of London Sessions, who criticized the methods used by the police in testing steering.
A police constable told the Bromley Court that he saw the front wheels wobbling excessively. When examining the steering he found that there -was a quarter of a turn play in the steering wheel and the column could be moved up and down in. This, he said, indicated that the worm and pinion and the pinion arm and bush were worn.
The solicitor for the council said that the lorry was fitted with high-pressure tyres and the wheels themselves took a lot of the road shock which might cause a wobble—in itself not a defect.
In evidence, the driver said he felt no wobbling and had full control. Mr. C. W. Bridges, mechanical superintendent to the council, stated that he examined the vehicle on the day of the alleged offence and found the steering gear quite normal and in thoroughly roadworthy condition. The ball joints were sound and radial play in the steering wheel amounted to a fifth of a turn when the front wheels were straight to an eighth at full lock.
It was impossible for the column to rise in., because when the quadrant in the steering box was at its full movement to one side, the amount transferred to the worm shaft was without adjustment.
Witnessexamined the sector shaft with a micrometer and found 0:002 in. wear; on the bush he found 0.003 in.. wear, making a working tolerance of only 0.005 in.
The constable asked whether it was not possible for the worm to have become worn after 20 years' service. Witness replied that it had been maintained properly and its life was indefi
nite. As far as he knew, it was the original worm fitted in 1929.
When the constable suggested that the quadrant had become screwed up when Mr. Bridges made his examination, thus taking up the play, the witness said he did not think that that was likely.