§ Mr. Speed
asked the Secretary of State for Transport (1) if he is satisfied that drivers of vehicles equipped with space saver spare wheels are adequately informed of the special precautions to be taken when driving on them;
(2) what safety tests have been carried out by his Department on space saver spare wheels; and what was the result;
(3) how many vehicles he estimates are fitted with space saver spare wheels rather than conventional ones.
§ Mrs. Chalker
We estimate that there are about 40.000 to 50,000 cars on our roads supplied with one of these spare wheels. Transport and road research laboratory tests show that the car's braking and cornering abilities remain satisfactory under normal conditions, but that if the car is driven at its limits of braking or cornering it may be more difficult to control than if fitted with a normal wheel.
We have no reason to question the adequacy of the advice given to drivers at present, eg in the vehicle handbook. A new international standard provides for clear information on the precautions needed including a speed restriction of 50 mph. We expect that standard to be formally adopted as an ECE Regulation next year, and we shall then be able to require new cars equipped with these spare wheels to conform with it.