'Deadly weapon' supercars should be fitted with black boxes to tackle reckless driving, says Halifax MP Holly Lynch
The Government should consider banning people from hiring high performance vehicles unless they are a certain age or have a clean licence, according to a West Yorkshire MP aiming to tackle the blight of reckless driving in the county.
Holly Lynch used a Commons motion to call on Westminster to take action over the supercars like Lamborghinis and Ferraris being driven at dangerously high speeds after being hired out by someone who goes on to pass the keys around a group of others.
She said two such vehicles, which were "a deadly weapon in the wrong hands", had been spotted by police going at 76mph and 86mph on the same 40mph stretch of road in her Halifax constituency.
A ten-minute rule motion backed by a number of Yorkshire MPs called on the Government to ensure that all rental vehicles over 300 horsepower are fitted with a 'black box' the size of a matchbox. The device would record information about how and when a car is driven which must be made available to the police on request.
A second element of her “High Performance Vehicle Renting (Regulation)” is that a person hiring the car must be insured as the named driver, for that specific vehicle, for the duration of the rental agreement, and must satisfy the hire car company of this prior to being allowed to drive the vehicle away.
Labour MP Ms Lynch urged the Government to set up a task force to look at the industry which allows such vehicles to be hired and that it should consider minimum licensing requirements for those seeking to hire a performance vehicle.
She told MPs: That could include things like being over a certain age before you can hire a vehicle over 300 horsepower, a requirement to have a clean license or have a minimum number of years experience as a driver."
She was backed by fellow West Yorkshire MP and metro mayoral hopeful Tracy Brabin, who said: “It is so important that we tackle anti-social driving and ensure that people can’t just hire a high-performance vehicle for the weekend and drive dangerously and cause a nuisance in residential areas."
But she was criticised by James Baker, the leader of Calderdale's Liberal Democrats, who said other less powerful cars were often driven dangerously and at high speed, suggesting the behaviour of drivers was a bigger problem than the cars themselves.
He said: "It is sadly typical of the paternalistic and nannying culture of the Labour Party to seek to ban and restrict everyone's freedoms rather than spend time educating or reforming an individual whose behaviour is criminal."
Describing the problem locally, Ms Lynch, the daughter of a police officer, said: "Too often keys are swapped around those who do not have the appropriate insurance under a vague sense that the car came with a package which allows others to drive it, or that a drivers existing insurance covers them to drive other vehicles.
"This is very often simply not the case, but inevitably sends police on a wild goose chase whilst they are forced to establish what the insurance details are.
"For those who are not simply young and irresponsible, but more those involved in more criminal enterprises, this leaves far too many loopholes in the law which allows for the abuse of our highways and neighbourhoods.
"Too often, when the police have contacted hire car companies for details of the driver at the time an offense was committed, hire car companies have failed to provide the details.
"Whilst this is an offense in and of itself, and I welcome cases where prosecutions have been secured against owners of such companies, a black box and named driver and vehicle insurance combination would significantly undermine someone’s ability to abuse the system."
Ten Minute Rule Bills are a type of Private Members' Bill that are introduced in the House of Commons, allowing a backbench MP to make his or her case for a new Bill in a speech lasting up to ten minutes. They are unlikely to become law without the backing of the Government.