Written Answers 5 July to 9 July

Monday 5 July 2010

Driving Offences
Charlie Elphicke: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether his Department has considered the merits of introducing legislation to make compulsory the display of (a) MOT and (b) insurance information on vehicle windscreens. [4132]

Mike Penning: I do not consider that such legislation is necessary. The police have access to the MOT and insured vehicle databases and often use them when carrying out roadside enforcement.

We also intend to introduce regulations later this year to strengthen measures against uninsured driving. From early 2011, DVLA will make frequent comparisons of their taxed vehicles database with the Motor Insurers Bureau’s database of insured vehicles. Enforcement action will be taken against keepers of vehicles which are on the road without insurance.

Driving Under Influence
Mr Bain: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when his Department plans to publish its response to the North Committee report on road safety and the drink-driving limit. [5059]

Mike Penning: The report of Sir Peter North’s review of drink and drug driving legislation covers a wide range of issues, including the legal alcohol limit for drivers, and contains 51 detailed recommendations. The Department for Transport is giving careful consideration to its conclusions in conjunction with colleagues in other Departments. We will respond to the report in due course.

Sadiq Khan: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether he plans to bring forward proposals to change the maximum blood alcohol limit for driving. [3912]

Mike Penning: Sir Peter North has recently published the report of his review of drink and drug driving legislation commissioned by the previous Government. His report covers a wide range of issues, including the legal alcohol limit for drivers, and contains 51 detailed recommendations. The Department for Transport is giving careful consideration to its conclusions in conjunction with colleagues in other Departments and we will respond to Sir Peter’s recommendations in due course.

Driving: Licensing
Mr Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what evaluation has been made of the effectiveness of the operation of the Road Traffic (New Drivers) Act 1995; how many new drivers have had their licences revoked under the provisions of the Act in each year since the Act came into effect; what information his Department holds on the number of such new drivers who have continued to drive despite revocation of their licence; and if he will make a statement. [4298]

Mike Penning: The most recent evaluation of the effectiveness of the Road Traffic (New Drivers) Act 1995 was included in the Road Safety Compliance Consultation document published in November 2008, a copy of which is in the Libraries of the House.

The numbers of driving licence revocations under the 1995 Act from June 1997 to May 2009 are shown in the table. More recent figures are not yet available.

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201011/cmhansrd/cm100705/text/100705w0001.htm#10070527000004

Figures are not available in respect of drivers who have continued to drive in spite of having had their licence revoked under the 1995 Act.

We are considering whether further measures are needed in relation to newly-qualified drivers.

Invalid Vehicles
Mr Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether he plans to regulate further the usage of mobility scooters; and if he will make a statement. [3598]

Norman Baker: On 3 March 2010 the Department for Transport published a consultation on proposed changes to the laws governing powered mobility scooters and powered wheelchairs. The consultation covered issues such as compulsory insurance, training and assessment to use mobility vehicles, a more comprehensive registration scheme and the design and safety standards for mobility vehicles. The consultation is now closed and the responses are being analysed. It is available on the Department’s website at:

http://assets.dft.gov.uk/publications/mobility-scooters-road-guidance/mobility-guidance.pdf

We will study the results of the consultation and consider how they may inform future policy options.

Mr Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what studies his Department has (a) conducted and (b) evaluated on injuries caused to pedestrians by mobility scooters in the last five years. [3599]

Norman Baker: The Department for Transport published research in 2006 into the use of Class 2 and Class 3 mobility scooters and powered wheelchairs which can be viewed on the Department’s website at:

http://www.dft.gov.uk/transportforyou/access/tipws/pwps/

The research did not suggest that mobility vehicles have a significant impact on road safety.

We are however aware that the number of mobility vehicles is on the increase. The Department has initiated a survey to help assess the number of mobility vehicles users and the extent to which their use may have injured people and I will be considering its conclusions at the appropriate time.

M1: Speed Limits
Mr Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether fixed speed cameras are still to be installed on the M1 between junctions 25 and 28. [4069]

Mike Penning [holding answer 28 June 2010]: The scheme to widen the M1 between junctions 25 to 28 includes technology to allow the use of mandatory variable speed limits.

Use of these limits helps to manage traffic flows and provide more reliable journeys for motorists at times when the road is particularly busy. The technology which supports these limits includes:

loops in the road to monitor traffic speeds and provide alerts when congestion is starting to occur,

CCTV cameras to allow the traffic conditions and any incidents to be monitored,

electronic variable speed limit signs, and

speed enforcement cameras to ensure that motorists do not exceed the variable limits in force.

The cameras are not, therefore, standalone installations on roads with permanent speed limits. They are part of an overall package of technology measures to support variable speed limits, improving journey reliability as well as safety. In these limited circumstances I am content for speed cameras to be used as part of the overall solution.

Speed Limits
Mr Bain: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what plans he has for use of variable speed limits on trunk roads and dual carriageways; [4979]

(2) whether he plans to extend the use of variable speed limits. [4980]

Mike Penning: The Department for Transport acknowledges the potential benefits of variable speed limits in terms of achieving smooth traffic flows, easing congestion and improving road safety. We are currently considering the options for extension of the use of variable speeds limits on trunk roads, dual carriageways and other roads that may benefit from their use.

Caroline Flint: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans his Department has to introduce a 20 miles per hour speed limit on all urban roads; and if he will make a statement. [5191]

Mike Penning: The Department for Transport keeps all speed limits under review to ensure they remain appropriate. There are no current plans to change the 30 mph default speed limit. To do so would have significant resource implications and place additional burdens on local authorities. Local authorities already have the power to implement 20 mph limits and zones where they decide they are appropriate.

Speed Limits: Cameras
Mr Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport from what date he expects fixed-speed cameras to be in operation on the M1 in Hertfordshire. [3600]

Mike Penning: The M1 Junctions 6a-10 scheme will allow the use of mandatory variable speed limits to manage traffic flows.

Speed enforcement cameras to support compliance with the operation of the variable speed limits are expected to come into operation in November 2010.

Transport: Safety
Jim Fitzpatrick: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much his Department has allocated in area-based grants to transport safety partnerships in each year since 2007. [4186]

Mike Penning: Area-based grants are the resource, rather than the capital, side of the specific road safety grant.

The money is distributed to local highways authorities who then decide how much (if any) should be allocated to road safety partnerships.

Budgets were allocated as follows:

£
2007-08
79,515,991

2008-09
78,764,749

2009-10
78,118,656

2010-11
77,327,152
The area-based grant for road safety was reduced to £56,842,152 as part of local government’s contribution to the £6 billion of in-year savings in 2010-11. This grant was chosen for reduction because it was evenly spread across local authorities and thus provides equal incentive to local authorities to make efficiencies to compensate for the reduction in road safety grant. At the same time, a substantial tranche of local authority grant was de-ring fenced, allowing local authorities greater flexibility in spending. The reduction in road safety grant is not intended to signal that local authorities are expected to reduce spending on road safety disproportionately.

Crime: Drink-Driving
Questions asked by Viscount Simon

To ask Her Majesty’s Government when they intend to respond Sir Peter North’s review of drink-drive limits.[HL623]

Earl Attlee: Sir Peter North’s report of his review of drink and drug driving legislation covers a wide range of issues, including the legal alcohol limit for drivers, and contains 51 detailed recommendations. The Department for Transport is giving careful consideration to its conclusions in conjunction with colleagues in other departments. We will respond to the report in due course.

Asked by Viscount Simon

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps the Department for Transport is taking to reduce the number of instances of drink-driving.[HL626]

Earl Attlee: The Government’s priority is to tackle drink and drug driving in the most effective way possible to protect law-abiding motorists and other road users, and to reduce drink- and drug-related casualties to the minimum possible.

Further steps to discourage this behaviour will be considered in the context of the recommendations of the North review of drink- and drug-driving legislation, to which the Government will respond in due course.

Vehicles: Accidents
Question asked by Lord Roberts of Llandudno

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many lorries on the A55 in north Wales were involved in accidents in 2009; and whether they were travelling to or from the port of Holyhead.[HL861]

Earl Attlee: In 2009, there were six heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) involved in reported personal injury road accidents on the A55 in North Wales.

Information regarding the origin and destination of vehicles involved in reported road accidents is not collected as part of the road accident data collection form (STATS19) and could be collected only at disproportionate costs.

Tuesday 6 July 2010

Driving Offences: Fines
Mr Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what the average fine levied on a person convicted of an offence under section (a) 14(3) and (b) 41D of the Road Traffic Act 1988 was in the last 12 months. [5439]

Mr Blunt: The average fine imposed at all courts in England and Wales for offences under the Road Traffic Act 1988, sections 14 and 15, for 2008 (latest available) is given in the table. It is not possible to separately identify section 14(3) from other offences in sections 14 and 15.

Section 41D gave authority to existing regulations, under the Road vehicles (Construction and use) Regulations 1986, to make certain offences endorsable. The average fine imposed at all courts for these offences are also given in the table.

Court proceedings data for 2009 are planned for publication on 21 October 2010.

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201011/cmhansrd/cm100706/text/100706w0002.htm#10070657000012

Driving Offences: Mobile Phones
Mr Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many prosecutions there have been of people of each sex in each age group in (a) England and Wales, (b) Essex and (c) Southend for the offence of driving while using a hand-held mobile telephone since the creation of that offence. [5438]

Mr Blunt: The information requested was previously given in an answer to the hon. Gentleman on 8 March 2010, Official Report, column 86W. The following table, provides data up to 2008 (latest available), is as follows. Data for 2009 are planned for publication on 21 October 2010.

Court proceedings data are not available at town or parliamentary constituency level.

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201011/cmhansrd/cm100706/text/100706w0002.htm#10070657000012

Alcohol
Question asked by Lord Roberts of Llandudno

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many alcohol-related deaths occurred on United Kingdom roads in (a) 1995, (b) 2000, (c) 2005, (d) 2008, and (e) 2009.[HL865]

Earl Attlee: The information requested is available in table 3a of Article 3 (page 30) of Reported Road Casualties Great Britain 2008. Copies are available in the Libraries of the House.

Provisional estimates for 2009 will be published in August 2010.

Wednesday 7 July 2010

Departmental Responsibilities
Mr Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the roles and responsibilities are of the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport. [5755]

Norman Baker: The responsibilities, which are published on the Department’s website, are as follows:

Norman Baker

Regional and Local Transport

Buses and Taxis- including concessionary fares

Walking and Cycling

Accessibility and Equalities

Alternatives to travel

Light rail and trams

Natural environment

Parking

Traffic management

Corporate issues

Mike Penning

Strategic Roads and Highways Agency

Motoring agencies

Road Safety and Standards

Freight and Logistics-including lorry road user charging

Maritime and Dangerous Goods-(including Maritime and Coastguard Agency)

Better regulation.

Railways: Cycling
Sadiq Khan: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has for the budget allocated by his Department for improving cycling facilities at rail stations. [3913]

Mrs Villiers: £4 million has been made available through Cycling England for four flagship Bike ‘n’ Ride train operating companies. Over the two years 2009-11, Virgin Trains, Merseyrail, Northern Rail and South West Trains will be improving cycle facilities at stations across their network.

Future budgets will depend on decisions to be made in the comprehensive spending review.

Written Questions: Government Responses
Mr Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport on what matters (a) within and (b) outside his listed Ministerial responsibilities the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport answers questions for written answer. [6358]

Norman Baker: The details of my ministerial responsibilities, which are published on the Department for Transport’s website, are as follows:

Regional and Local Transport

Buses and Taxis-including concessionary fares

Walking and Cycling

Accessibility and Equalities

Alternatives to travel

Light rail and trams

Natural environment

Parking

Traffic management

Corporate issues

Thursday 8 July 2010

Level Crossings: Bassetlaw
John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the safety of level crossings in Bassetlaw constituency. [6902]

Mrs Villiers: The Secretary of State for Transport does not make assessments of safety at level crossings. However, the Office of Rail Regulation ensures, through the level crossing order-making process and routine monitoring of Network Rail’s management of safety, that the appropriate protective equipment is in place to control risks at public road crossings. Network Rail also undertakes risk assessments of every level crossing as part of its safety management processes.

The Office of Rail Regulation and the rail industry continue to work to improve safety at level crossings by addressing the root causes of accidents. It should be noted that an estimated 95% of all level crossing accidents are caused by misuse by the user.

Motorcycles: Driving Tests
Mr Mark Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the average waiting time to take module 1 of the motorcycle test was in (a) Wales, (b) England and (c) Scotland in the latest period for which figures are available. [3878]

Mike Penning: At 21 June 2010, the average waiting time for module 1 motorcycle tests was (a) nine weeks in Wales, (b) three weeks in England and (c) two weeks in Scotland.

Passenger Focus
Sadiq Khan: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether he plans to retain Passenger Focus as an independent representative of passenger interests. [4048]

Mrs Villiers: The Queen’s Speech announced the Government’s intention to introduce a Public Bodies (Reform) Bill. As part of the preparation for this Bill, the Department for Transport will be reviewing all of the public bodies it sponsors.

 

Photo supplied by TRL (Transport Research Laboratory).

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