Road Safety Groups campaign to stop the clocks going back

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The clocks went back last weekend as British Summer Time (BST) came to an end and we returned to Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).  The evenings always come as a bit of a shock when this happens and we have to start travelling or driving home in the dark.

But did you know that there are very serious road safety consequences as a result of this clock change?  It’s a fact that more people are killed and injured on the road because of darker evenings in the autumn and winter than would be if Single/Double British Summertime (SDST) were to be adopted.  (SDST would mean GMT+1 during the winter months, with GMT+2 being applied to the summer period. This would create lighter evenings all year round).

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) say that ‘during the working week, casualty rates peak at 8am and 5pm for adults and 8am and 3.30pm for children, with the afternoon peak being higher for both. Road casualty rates increase with the arrival of darker evenings and worsening weather conditions. Every autumn when the clocks go back and sunset occurs earlier in the day, road casualties rise. The effects are worse for the most vulnerable road users like children, the elderly, cyclists and motorcyclists.’1

Research commissioned by the Department of Transport shows that about 80 deaths and 2012 serious injuries would be prevented on the roads each year if SDST were to be implemented. 

RoSPA has been calling on the government for years to consider changing time zones across the country in a bid to improve road safety. It states that there are a number of other important benefits in addition to improved road safety to be gained by a switch to SDST, including for the environment, business, tourism, leisure, the elderly, health and wellbeing, and crime reduction.

In respect of the environment, estimates give a reduction in CO2 pollution by at least 447,000 tonnes each year, the equivalent to more than 50,000 cars driving all the way around the world!
 
Although numerous polls have shown that the public is in favour of adopting SDST, not everyone is keen.  Morning workers such as farmers, the building industry, postal workers and milk deliverers have opposed potential changes in the past. There has been some resistance in Scotland too, although opinion is now shifting, RoSPA says.

Momentum for the change is definitely gathering, with numerous studies, reports and campaigns launched in recent years.  If you are keen to learn more about RoSPA’s ‘Lighter Evenings Campaign’ and add your name to the list of supporters, see here:
1          http://www.rospa.com/about/currentcampaigns/lighter-evenings/

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