THE REGULATION OF ROAD VEHICLES.
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The Provisions of Viscount Cecil's Bill for Securing More Drastic Control of the Speed of Vehicles and of the Licensing of Drivers. Suggested Mechanical Modifications.
From Our Parliamentary Correspondent.
'VISCOUNT CECIL has introduced, in the House V of Lords, a Bill for the better regulation of road vehicles, its object being "to diminish the very large number of road accidents that are at present occurring."
Clause 1 requires all drivers to take out a licence after examination into their skill and physical fitness, by the licensing authority. An instructor's licence, entitling the holder to instruct upon the highway any person desiring to qualify himself to hold a licence to drive, may be issued to a qualified person approved by the licensing authority, which is to be the Council of a County or County Borough. Where the grant or renewal of a licence is refused, an appeal will lie to a court of summary jurisdiction.
Clause 2 limits the speed of vehicles to the MaXiffillM "prescribed for that vehicle or type of vehicle" by the Minister. A fine up to £10 is the penalty for the first offence, £20 or imprisonment not exceeding one month for a second offence, and £50 or imprisonment not exceeding three months for any subsequent offence. A person must be warned of the intended prosecution when the offence is committed, or notice must be sent within seven days. Power is given to the Minister of Transport to make regulations prescribing the maximum rate of speed for a mechanically propelled vehicle, prescribing different maximum rates of speed for different vehicles or types of vehicle, and prescribing different maximum rates of speed beyond which a vehicle may not be driven on different roads or portions of roads.
Suggestion of Mechanically Controlled Speed.
Clause 3 lays it down that no licence shall be issued In respect of a vehicle unless and until the competent authority is satisfied that the same is safely and properly constructed and complies with regulations made by the Minister. These regulations may provide—
(1) For the fitting to every mechanically propelled vehicle of an approved mechanical device, whereby the vehicle is rendered incapable of being driven at any speed exceeding the maximum rate prescribed for the vehicle.
(2) That every vehicle should have two independent brakes in good working order, which may be applied simultaneously to all the wheels of the vehicle.
(3) For the prevention of all undue noise and vibration.
(4) For the inspection of any vehicle from time to time, at the discretion of the competent authority.
The Minister may, on the application of any manufacturer or Unporter, approve a type of vehicle and certify it asr exempt from the necessity of inspection before the issue of a licence. Nothing in the section shall affect the power to issue general licences to manufacturers or dealers.
Clause 4 imposes compulsory insurance against third-party risks in compliance with regulations made by the Minister.
Safety Regulations Advocated.
Clause 5 requires that, until the Minister maLes regulations, persons shall comply with regulations set out in the schedule, for securing the safety and convenience of persons using the highway, and of persons travelling in vehicles, and for the better avoidance of accidents. This schedule lays down a general rule that speed must be regulated according to all the E32 circumstances of the case, condition of highway, gradient, width and surface of road, height of hedges, cross-roads, vision and visibility, presence of pedestrians, cattle, or vehicles and traffic that may reasonably be expected. A driver must obey all directions 'given by any highway authority, and pass to the right of another vehicle proceeding in the seine direction, unless it be a tramcar. A vehicle shall not pass, or seek to pass, a tramcar which any person is entering or leaving. Overtaking or passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction on a curve or bend in the highway is forbidden.
A driver shall not sound a horn, bell or other instillment of warning while passing through any city, town or village where such an instrument of warning is prehibited by the local authority. The local authority in case of such prohibition is required to erect signs at the boundaries on all highways indicating the prohibition. The driver of any horse-drawn vehicle, or any mechanically propelled vehicle exceeding five tons weight unladen, shall at all 'times keep the vehicle as close to the near side of the road as is possible. . Clause 6 empowers. a highway authority to alter the letel or surface itcrosS nsèctfln of a highway which is dangerous, so as, to prevent vehicles. being driven over it at an excessive speed; conspieuous Warning signs of a uniform type being placed at a reasonable distance in either direction.
Entering Main Roads from Side Roads.
Clause 7 gives power to the highwii authority to determine, in respect of ,any, junction of roads, which of the Dyads shall be deemed to be the main road at that point and which the secondary road or roads. Signs will be erected, and drivers proceeding along a secondary road and intending to cross or, turn into the main road shall, so far as is reasonably necessary for the avoidance of a collision with other vehicles, give way to other vehicles proceeding along the main road and shall permit such other vehicles to 'cross Or pass such a second road before they proceed to cross or turn into such main road.
Drastic Penalties Suggested.
The penalties for offences under the Act where no special penalty is expressly provided are—for a first offence, a fine not exceeding £20 or imprisonment not exceeding three months, and for a second or any subsequent offence, a fine not exceeding £50 or imprisonment not exceeding six months. The court may also, in the case of a conviction for any offence under the Act, suspend the driving licence for a period not less than three months, and declare the person convicted disqualified from obtaining a licence for such further time as it thinks fit. An appeal to the Quarter Sessions is allowed against suspension or disqualification. The Bill extends to England and Wales and Scotland, but not to Northern Ireland.