31 JULY 1936, Page 19


have just, returned from spending three weeks in Carlisle, to be met with the latest and record figures of tuvidents and death's on the roads, and I was reminded of the

• apparent .absence of such -accidents in Carlisle. The first thing which struck me as I entered the town • was the complete observance by all sorts of drivers of the 'pedestrian crossings: Not only did all vehicles pull up on both sides of a• crossing -when . any pedestrian was on it, but • I saw. many cases in which the traffic stopped when someone was merely waiting- to• cruse: When I remarked on this to my -hosts they agreed :that -•it was' quite safe to cross any

road -in - Carlisle. • •

Assuming this to be the normal state of affairs there, the problem is to .ascertain the reasons for it, and to see whether these conditions can be induced in areas with bad records. It seems to me that the main reason is the strength of public opinion, which is such that I think that no regular inhabitant of Carlisle would dare to take any such risks. The other reasons are, I think, the relative smallness of the amount of vehicular traffic, and the comparative ease with which the inhabitants appear to take life, there being none of the rush and scurry characteristic of London.

These reasons suggest that the problem is one as between large and small urban areas, and if Carlisle is typical of that size of community, then it would seem that most of the accidents occur either in large urban areas or on the open road, and it would be interesting to learn whether the Ministry of Transport's figures bear this out.

The question is whether the reasons for Carlisle's apparent record in this respect can be transferred to the larger areas. I believe that public opinion is far the most important of the reasons I have given, and I feel sure that a general improve- ment in the position would result if public opinion could be mobilised against any driver involved in an accident through his own negligence or bad driving, perhaps by posting full particulars in the newspapers of the area in which he lives. --