London, 30 May 2003.
For immediate release.

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4x4 Ban is Gesture Politics that Ignores the Real Issues
Liberal democrat MP Norman Baker suggests that four wheel drive vehicles should be banned from the school run and supermarket trips.
His suggestions seem ill-founded and poorly thought through.
 
Forcing parents to use small vehicles as a politically-correct gesture could put the occupants at greater risk if involved in an accident. In addition, there seems to have been little thought as to how any restrictions could be policed, or where the police or local authorities would find the manpower to enforce a ban.
 
Forcing hard pressed rural businesses who need a 4x4 for heavy duty towing or off road use to buy a second car to go to the shops or take the children to school would simply waste everyone's time and increase the number of car journeys by preventing parents from collecting the children on the way home from a business trip.
 
ABD Spokesman Mark McArthur-Christie said:
"It's sad to see an MP tilting at windmills when there are far more pressing transport problems to solve. Mr Baker has not even defined what he means by a "4x4". Four wheel drive is fitted to many small cars. Does he propose that children should not be taken to school in a four wheel drive Fiat Panda or Ford Sierra but can be taken in a 7.5 ton truck? What vehicles does Mr Baker deem acceptable for carriage of children? Presumably Mr Blair's gas guzzling but 2wd Chrysler Voyager is sacrosanct."
Suggesting that these vehicles are more likely to be driven badly than other types is simple prejudice. All types of vehicles can be used in a manner that puts other road users at risk, this is primarily a driver education issue.
 
Mr Baker and the Liberal Democrats would be better advised to attack the government's appalling record on driver education and training rather than attempting to dictate what sort of vehicles children are carried in.
 
ABD Chairman Brian Gregory said:
"This is gesture politics at its worst. With the roads crumbling because of lack of funding, driving taxes escalating and London's drivers being slammed with a Congestion Tax, we believe there are more important issues at stake. I wonder if Mr Baker knows how many of his constituents in Lewes drive 4x4s? I wonder if he knows how much children love travelling in 4x4 vehicles? I'm sure they'll let him know at the ballot box."

 

 
Notes for Editors