PQs 5th – 8th Dec 2011

Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee
Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what her policy is on the future of the Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee; and if she will make a statement. [84742]
 
Norman Baker: The Government are minded to abolish the Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee (DPTAC) as a statutory body but will explore options for continuing to gain the disability advice it needs through a more flexible, accountable structure. I made a written ministerial statement on 7 June 2011, Official Report, columns 21-2WS, seeking views and evidence with regard to potential successor arrangements. I also held a workshop with stakeholders on 11 July.
These views have informed the possible successor arrangements and I intend to consult formally on these early in the new year.
I will consider the responses to this consultation, including whether those responses affect the decision to abolish DPTAC.
PACTS comments: The Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee advise the government with the aim of ensuring that disabled people have the same access to transport as everyone else. Amongst their work they contributed to forming the official specifications that new buses must meet (Public Service Vehicles Accessibility Regulations 2000), such as providing priority seats, having safe steps and contrasting handrails.
Driving Instruction
Mr Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what discussions she has had with (a) the police and (b) other public bodies on the potential benefits of providing preparatory training to young people before they learn to drive; and if she will make a statement. [84303]
Mike Penning [holding answer 1 December 2011]: The Secretary of State for Transport, my right hon. Friend the Member for Putney (Justine Greening), has not had any discussions on this issue. I have had discussed the benefits of improving the learning to drive process with a number of stakeholders.
While understanding road safety issues from a young age is important, research suggests that giving pre-learners driving skills before they are 17-years-old may not have a road safety benefit.
Mr Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what (a) financial and (b) other support her Department provides for Pathfinder driving schools; and if she will make a statement. [84304]
Mike Penning [holding answer 1 December 2011]: The Driving Standards Agency does not provide financial or other forms of support to Pathfinder driving schools.
 
Railways: Accidents
 
Jim Fitzpatrick: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recommendations were made following the incident at Tebay on 15 February 2004 involving a runaway trolley; and what progress has been made implementing such recommendations. [82346]
Mrs Villiers: The RSSB (formally the Rail Safety and Standards Board) held an independent inquiry into the Tebay accident of 15 February 2004.
The report of this inquiry, “Track Worker Fatalities at Tebay on 15 February 2004”, was published in October 2004. It contained 12 recommendations, 10 of which were directed to Network Rail with the remaining two directed to the RSSB. A summary of this report is available at:
http://www.rssb.co.uk/LEARNING/Documents/FI2884.pdf
The 10 recommendations directed to Network Rail were closed out in accordance with industry standards between 2005 and 2008. The RSSB has confirmed that all 12 recommendations have now been closed out.
 
A14: Cambridgeshire
 
Dr Huppert: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate she has made of the likely effects of the proposed expenditure on the A14 in Cambridgeshire on (a) levels of congestion, (b) average travel times and (c) the number of accidents. [84712]
Mike Penning [holding answer 5 December 2011]: The £20 million package was developed from a list of Highways Agency and local authority proposed scheme ideas which are considered most likely to reduce congestion and travel times and improve safety and resilience on the A14 in the short term. Proportionate and quantified assessment of the benefits of the measures will be carried out as part of the pre-implementation preparations to ensure the schemes are optimally designed and offer value for money.
Motor Vehicles: Lighting
 
Yasmin Qureshi: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps her Department is taking to prevent the unnecessary use of fog lights in conditions of good visibility. [85674]
Mike Penning: The use of front or rear fog lamps is prohibited other than in conditions of seriously reduced visibility. Enforcement of road traffic law is a matter for the police. However, guidance on the correct use of fog lights is also provided in the Highway Code which advises that seriously reduced visibility is when the driver cannot see further than 100 metres (328 feet).
To help prevent rear fog lamps inadvertently being left on, they must be designed to automatically switch off when all other lamps are turned off and then to remain off until deliberately switched on again. Alternatively an audible warning must be given if the driver leaves the vehicle with the rear fog lamps on.
 
Electric Vehicles: Bicycles
 
Dr Huppert: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment she has made of the number of accidents involving scooter-style electric bicycles, in each of the last three years. [85604]
Mike Penning: Electrically assisted bicycles are not identified as a separate element in accident statistics.
Dr Huppert: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether she has plans to review the rules regulating the licensing and use of scooter-style electric bicycles. [85605]
Mike Penning: A public consultation on electric cycle legislation (The Electrically Assisted Pedal Cycle Regulations SI 1168/1983) was completed in March 2010. The legislation was also considered under the Road Transport theme of the Red Tape Challenge initiative. The Department will shortly be publishing a summary of consultation responses and a statement on next steps.
The Department is also negotiating a new EU regulation on two, three and light four wheel vehicles, including certain types of electric cycles. The outcome of these discussions are expected to conclude during the summer 2012. Decisions reached at EU level may affect how we regulate certain electric cycles in GB.
Transport: MoT Scheme
 
Questions
Asked by Lord Bradshaw
To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Earl Attlee on 25 November (WA 289), how many MoT tests which initially failed (1) exceeded permitted levels of emissions, and (2) failed on safety grounds such as tyre and brake condition.[HL13935]
Earl Attlee: The Vehicle and Operator Services Agency publishes MoT test failure rate items in its effectiveness report. Emissions rates are grouped within the fuel and exhaust category. The table is as follows:
Class 3 & 4: Cars and light vans up to 3,000kg
Defect category 2010-11 2009-10 2008-09
No. of tests failed No. of tests failed No. of tests failed
Body and structure 372,925 442,808 459,678
Brakes 2,850,211 3,360,130 3,268,823
Drivers view of the road 2,051,087 2,214,039 2,145,165
Fuel and exhaust 1,465,062 1,745,184 1,762,100
Lighting and signalling 4,954,573 5,469,979 5,286,300
Reg plates and vin 319,650 442,808 383,065
Road wheels 106,650 104,190 102,150
Seat belts 452,837 520,950 485,216
Steering 852,400 807,473 740,593
Suspension 3,169,861 3,490,368 3,243,286
Towbars 26,637 26,047
Tyres 2,130,999 2,344,277 2,349,467
 Please note a vehicle can fail an MoT test for more than one item.
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