PQs 19th – 23rd March

Transport: Heavy Goods Vehicles
Asked by Lord Bradshaw
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what action they are taking to reduce the risk to pedestrians and cyclists from heavy goods vehicles; and whether they are promoting the use of safety schemes such as that undertaken by the Crossrail project. [HL16416]
Earl Attlee: Vehicle construction legislation is adopted at an EU level. European legislation requires most heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) first registered since January 2007 to have improved mirrors and further European legislation requires existing HGVs first registered from January 2000 to be retro-fitted with improved mirrors on the passenger side. This legislation has been implemented in all member states of the European Union and applies to most HGVs used for domestic and foreign trade.
The Department for Transport recently commissioned research with Loughborough University on improving driver vision and this was published in November 2011. The research findings are being used to improve International regulations on mirrors for new vehicles. The reports are available on the Loughborough website at:
Phase 1 = http://hdl.handle.net/2134/8872
Phase 2 = http://hdl.handle.net/2134/8873
Impact Assessment = http://hdl.handle.net/2134/8874
Furthermore we have recently announced that English councils are now free to use “Trixi” cycle safety mirrors at traffic signal-controlled junctions: to make cyclists more visible to drivers of large vehicles. Previously councils required explicit permission from the department on a case by case basis.
We welcome the use of safety schemes such as that undertaken by the Crossrail project, where all lorries are required to meet specific safety standards. We also welcome other initiatives such as the Freight Transport Association’s Cycling Code, which it has produced in collaboration with Transport for London and the London Cycling Campaign, and “Exchanging Places” events; and we encourage local authorities to consider such activities which can improve road sharing.
PACTS comments:  PACTS welcomes the move to make installing Trixi mirrors easier, though the Institute for Road Safety Research in the Netherlands warns that they are only effective while the lorry is stopped in front of the mirror.
Improvements in both infrastructure and behaviour are needed to make cycling safer in the UK, which is why safety schemes such as the one undertaken by Crossrail are so important. Crossrail has implemented lorry requirements to improve cycle safety, such as fitting safety equipment and having mandatory road safety training for drivers. 
The Freight Transport Association’s Cycling Code mentioned in Earl Attlee’s answer is available at: http://bit.ly/qJRjCn. Additionally Transport for London operate the Freight Operator Recognition Scheme (FORS), an industry-led membership scheme which aims to help operators to become safer, greener and more efficient. This scheme should be rolled out nation-wide.
However there needs to be a balance in responsibility. Cyclists should be encouraged to undergo cycle safety training and take part in ‘exchanging places’ which allows them to experience sitting in the cab of an HGV.
Transport: Eyesight Tests
Asked by Lord Bradshaw
To ask Her Majesty’s Government how often a person must have their eyesight tested in order to retain a licence to operate, fly or drive a (1) plane, (2) train, (3) bus, (4) passenger ferry, (5) heavy goods vehicle, (6) motorbike, and (7) car.[HL16415]
Earl Attlee: Commercial pilots must hold a valid joint aviation authorities’ class 1 medical certificate to exercise the privileges of their licence. The medical certificate must be revalidated periodically depending on the pilot’s age and type of operation undertaken. Eyesight is tested at each revalidation medical examination, either six monthly or annually.
Private pilots who require a class 2 medical certificate must have this revalidated periodically and pilots must also have a medical declaration countersigned by their GP that confirms they satisfy DVLA standards for driving, including the eyesight standard. After its initial issue a medical declaration has to be countersigned every five years from age 45 and annually from age 65.
Train drivers must meet the visual acuity requirements, including for colour vision, set out in Railway Group Standards and the Rail Industry Approved Code of Practice (RACOP) GO/RC3561 on Staff Suitability and Fitness. The timing of the periodic medical examination to satisfy the RACOP depends on the driver’s age at the time of the previous examination, but corresponds to a five year period.
Any applicant for a certificate of competency to work on a ship and anyone working on a seagoing ship must hold an ENG1 seafarer medical certificate. An eyesight examination is required for the ENG1 certificate, which must be renewed every two years.
Bus and lorry drivers must have their eyesight tested at their first licence application and when they renew their licence at age 45, every five years thereafter until age 65 and annually from age 65.
Motorcyclists and car drivers must self-declare that their eyesight meets the minimum standard required for safe driving. This is required at first licence application, at licence renewal, at age 70 and every three years thereafter. The ability to meet the minimum eyesight standard is also checked by the driving examiner as part of the practical driving test.
Asked by Lord Bradshaw
To ask Her Majesty’s Government, in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011, how many (1) heavy goods vehicles, (2) buses and (3) other vehicles were involved in collisions with (a) cyclists, and (b) pedestrians; and following each of these types of collisions, how many drivers had their eyes tested immediately following the accident, and of those how many were found to have defective vision, and were prosecuted as a result.[HL16418]
Earl Attlee: The table below shows the number of (1) heavy goods vehicles, (2) buses or coaches and (3) other vehicles involved in reported personal injury road accidents involving (a) pedal cyclists, and (b) pedestrians injured by these vehicles in Great Britain between 2008 and 2010. This is the latest year for which this information is available.
Vehicles in accidents involving
Vehicle type (a) Pedal cycle (b) Pedestrian, injured by vehicle





Bus or Coach



Other vehicle







Bus or Coach



Other vehicle







Bus or Coach



Other vehicle



Information on the number of drivers involved in these accidents who subsequently had their eyesight examined, the results of these tests, and whether they were subsequently prosecuted is not held centrally by the Government.
Transport: Heavy Goods Vehicles
Asked by Lord Bradshaw
To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many heavy goods vehicles were given an MoT test in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011; how many heavy goods vehicles in each year failed their MoT and how old they were; and of those heavy goods vehicles failing, how many (1) were undergoing their first MoT, (2) passed their MoT after initially failing an MoT, and (3) failed on safety grounds such as tyre and brake condition.[HL16417]
Earl Attlee: The following figures are taken from Vehicle and Operator Services Agency effectiveness report available from: http://www.dft.gov.uk/vosa/publications/ corporatereports/2010-2011reportsuite/corporatereports-2010-2011vosaeffectivenessreport.htm
Table A1.3 HGV motor vehicle initial test fail rate by age
Age Apr-Feb 2011/12 2010-11 2009-10 2008-09

Up to 1 year





2 years





3 years





4 years





5 years





6 years





7 years





8 years





9 years





10 years





11 years





12+ years





Total HGV Vehicle Tests





Total HGV Vehicle Fails





First MoT (for fails only)





PRS (overall)





(PRS stands for pass after rectification at station and represents vehicles that fail an initial test for a very minor defect (bulb blown, headlamp aim askew, screws or bolts loose etc) that are easily rectifiable and when repaired on location result in a pass certificate.)
Table A1.7 Top ten reasons for HGV motor vehicle fails
Testable Item 2010-11 2009-10 2008-09

Headlamp Aim








Service Brake Performance




Brake System Components




Secondary Brake Performance




Parking Brake Performance








Bumper-Side Guards






Steering Mechanism






Warning Lamps



     Failure item figures for 2011-12 are not yet available

Note: Vehicles can fail for one or more items so these percentages should not be added to produce a total fail rate for these items.

Motor Vehicles: Registration
Mr Crausby: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many vehicles were registered with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency in the latest period for which figures are available. [100471]
Mike Penning: At the end of September 2011 there were 34,472,287 licensed vehicles on the DVLA register. There were also 2,079,105 vehicles on the register with Statutory Off Road Notifications (SORN).
In addition, the DVLA register included 54,633,816 ‘unlicensed’ vehicles. These records are of vehicles that were neither licensed nor had an off road notification on 30 September 2011. It is likely that the vast majority of these vehicles have been unofficially scrapped, exported or written off but have not been removed from the database.
It is likely that some of the ‘unlicensed’ vehicles have remained unlicensed continuously since the SORN requirements were introduced in January 1998. The keepers of any vehicles that have not been licensed since January 1998 are not obliged to provide the DVLA with an off road notification. It is not possible to identify the records of vehicles that meet this criteria. Therefore it is impossible to estimate how many of the ‘unlicensed’ vehicles still exist and how many have been disposed of.
These figures are for vehicles that are registered in Great Britain and they do not include vehicles registered with diplomatic plates or British Forces vehicles.
Public Transport: Visual Impairment
Tom Blenkinsop: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps she is taking to increase the accessibility of public transport for blind and partially-sighted people. [100502]
Norman Baker: The Department is committed to ensuring equal, and safe, access to public transport for everyone, including for blind and partially-sighted people.
The Rail Vehicle Accessibility Regulations 1998 (as amended) and the Public Service Vehicles Accessibility Regulations 2000 (as amended) contain a number of requirements to facilitate access for people with visual impairments. The Department continues to monitor progress to ensure the requirements are being met.
Audio-visual passenger information systems are required on trains, but, on buses, this is not the case and the levels of provision vary. I have written to bus operators and manufacturers encouraging them to work in partnership with local authorities to increase the uptake of these systems.
In addition, on 1 October 2010, we commenced provisions in the Equality Act 2010 that require the drivers of taxis and private hire vehicles to carry assistance dogs.
Bus Lanes: Ambulances
Stephen Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if she will make provision for ambulances, on non-emergency but medical transportation, to use bus lanes. [100137]
Norman Baker [holding answer 15 March 2012]: It is for local traffic authorities to decide which types of vehicles they permit to use bus lanes on their network. If they wish to allow ambulances on non-emergency calls to use bus lanes, they can do so by writing this into the relevant Traffic Regulation Order.
Motor Vehicles: Smoking
Mrs Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if she will amend the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) (Amendment) (No.4) Regulations 2003 (SI 2003/2695) to introduce the same penalties for smoking whilst driving a vehicle as those for using a mobile phone whilst driving a vehicle; and if she will make a statement. [100672]
Mike Penning: We have no proposals to introduce the same penalties for smoking while driving a vehicle as for using a hand-held mobile phone while driving a vehicle. There are many potential distractions while driving and it remains the driver’s responsibility to drive safely at all times. The police use the existing ‘failing to have proper control’ offence under Section 41(d) of the Road Traffic Act 1988, to deal with those who are distracted while driving. This attracts similar penalties to the specific offence related to driving while using a hand-held mobile phone.
Mr Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many people were (a) killed and (b) injured in road accidents on the A15 in each of the last five years; and if she will make a statement. [100509]
Mike Penning: The number of people that were (a) killed and (b) injured in reported personal injury road accidents on the A15 for each of the last five years for which data are available, is given in the table:
Number of casualties
2006 2007 2008 2009 2010

(a) Killed






(b) Injured






Mr Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what bids for funding for improvements and widening to the A15 have been made to her Department since May 2010. [100511]
Norman Baker: No bids have been made to the Department since May 2010 for funding improvements and widening to the A15.
We are consulting on proposals to devolve the funding for local authority major transport schemes from 2015. This would allow local communities and businesses a real say on investment priorities and bids would no longer need to come to DFT for approval.
Driving Under Influence
Paul Blomfield: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what (a) correspondence and (b) meetings her Department has had with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills on changes to the drink drive rehabilitation scheme. [101510]
Mike Penning: Driving Standards Agency (DSA) officials have not met their counterparts at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) to discuss changes to the drink drive rehabilitation scheme.
DSA has corresponded with BIS officials as part of the pre-publication clearance process for consultation papers and impact assessments.
M1: Cameras
Mr Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport for what reasons cameras have been installed alongside both carriageways of the M1 motorway north and south of junction 11; what the cost was of such installation; from what budget such expenditure was made; and if she will make a statement. [100412]
Mike Penning: The Hard Shoulder Running Scheme on the M1 between Junctions 10 and 13 is being delivered within the existing highway boundary. Both the northbound and southbound carriageways, through the works, are subject to narrow lanes and contraflows. These temporary arrangements can be particularly hazardous. To improve safety and mitigate the risk to the travelling public and our work force, a 50 mph limit is in place. Cameras have been installed on this stretch of motorway to improve compliance with the temporary 50 mph speed restriction.
The cost of installation and calibration including the cost of associated equipment and cabling is £850,000 and the cost of the cameras forms part of the scheme budget of £458.8 million.
Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether she plans to change the rules for tractors and trailers on the roads; and if she will make a statement. [100457]
Mike Penning: The Department’s officials are currently discussing potential changes to regulations with the relevant organisations in accordance with the Government’s response to the MacDonald review. Maintaining high standards of road safety is of key importance, while permitting farmers to take full advantage of the efficiencies of improved, modern equipment. Any proposals to change would be subject to normal regulatory process including public consultation.
Roads: Pedestrians
Asked by Lord Stoddart of Swindon
To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Earl Attlee on 5 March (WA 395) regarding pedestrian priority on pavements, whether they will take action through signage or other means to ensure that cyclists and drivers of motor vehicles are aware of the law.[HL16372]
Earl Attlee: The Department for Transport has no plans to take any additional action in this respect. The onus is on all road users to familiarise themselves with the rules of the Highway Codes for Great Britain and Northern Ireland, including those concerning the use of pavements.
Railways: Reform
Asked by Lord Bradshaw
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they envisage that changes in current working patterns will be adopted by public sector organisations as a result of the publication of the Command Paper Reforming our Railways to encourage travel outside high peak hours.[HL16414]
Earl Attlee: Many employers already recognise the benefits of more flexible working patterns and allow their staff to work flexibly. However, we believe that many more employers and employees in both the public and private sectors could benefit from more flexible working arrangements. Our Alternatives to Travel work with public and private sector organisations encourages them to consider whether they could work flexibly or travel outside peak hours.
The Government want to support a flexible working culture which is why the Government have committed to extend the right to request flexible working to all employees in 2014.
Driving: Fraud
Asked by Baroness Thomas of Winchester
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what use the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency makes of available confirmed fraud data when assessing driving licence applications.[HL16456]
Earl Attlee: The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency is committed to tackling criminal abuse of the driving licence system. All identity documents submitted to the agency are subject to stringent checks by trained staff using specialist equipment. When intelligence on potential fraud is received from government departments and enforcement agencies investigations are undertaken.
Procedures for fraud prevention are kept under review and adjusted in line with intelligence relating to the latest trends.
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