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Charities renew calls to make roads safer and brighter in the evenings

Charities renew calls to make roads safer and brighter in the evenings

The clocks were turned forwards one hour at the weekend and that led to road safety charities Brake and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) renewing their calls on the government to commit to moving to Single/Double Summer Time (SDST).  

The change would require the UK to move the clocks forward an additional hour all year round.   The change, said Brake, would create lighter evenings all year round and would allow many road users, especially cyclists and pedestrians, to take advantage of the benefits of natural light to remain safe and be seen during the busiest hours on the roads.  

Travelling in daylight during the winter months could have particular life-saving implications, said Brake. They included: UK statistics showing that pedestrian deaths and the vehicle casualty rate both increased during the winter months of 2015, a consistent trend over recent years.    

Previous studies have estimated that moving the clocks to an hour ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT+1) in winter, and two hours ahead (GMT+2) in summer, would prevent 80 deaths and hundreds of serious injuries on UK roads every year. 

There were also significant environmental benefits to be gained from implementing SDST, said Brake, as it had been estimated that the switch would reduce CO2 pollution by up to 447,000 each year.  

Introducing SDST to the UK would also encourage more people to walk or cycle to and from their destination rather than travelling by car, said the charity. That, it suggested, would be a powerful boost to the wellbeing of local communities, promoting safer, more sustainable transport and healthier lifestyles for many individuals.   

Gary Rae, campaigns director for Brake, said: “Brake has been campaigning for the clocks to be changed for good for many years. It is such a simple and effective way to reduce deaths and injuries on our roads, and carries so many other benefits, like increased daylight leisure time, and reduced carbon emissions. I want the government to look at this much neglected issue again.”

Errol Taylor, RoSPA’s acting chief executive, said: “We can reduce the number of people being needlessly killed on our roads each winter with this simple change. By moving to SDST, through the darker months the country would be on GMT+1, meaning extra daylight in the evenings.  

 “Not only would this simple and cheap move save lives, but it would also mean an average gain of 55 minutes “accessible” evening daylight for every day of the year - giving us more time for outdoor activities, more vitamin D, a boost to tourism, a reduction in opportunistic crime carried out under darkness, and a reduction in carbon emissions thanks to the energy we would save.”   

RoSPA is calling on the Government to carry out a two-year trial change to SDST to assess the benefits of advancing the clocks by one hour. The most recent attempt to change legislation was Rebecca Harris MP’s Private Members’ Bill, Daylight Savings Bill, which was talked out by a small number of MPs, despite having significant support, in 2012.