Latest pedestrian casualty statistics prove it’s time for a change

27/10/2017

More children are being hurt on Britain’s roads during the evening school run than at any other time of day – proving that it’s time the daylight savings system is changed.

The latest statistics from the Department for Transport show that of the 15,976 children hurt on Britain’s roads in 2016, nearly a quarter (22 per cent) were hurt during the hours of 3-5pm, while more than 1 in 3 of all pedestrian casualties happened between those times. This is in comparison to 14 per cent of children being injured during the morning school run, between the hours of 7-9am.

In fact, in every year since 2006 the majority of road casualties have occurred between the hours of 4-6pm; each year, the number of people killed and seriously injured on the country’s roads spikes immediately after the autumn clock change, due to the suddenly-darker evenings.

In 2016, pedestrian injuries for all age groups were at their highest in November. Casualty figures tend to remain high during winter and only improve in March, when the clocks go forwards again.

But there is a simple action that the Government can take to help address these shocking figures.

By altering the current daylight savings system to Single/Double British Summertime (moving the clocks forward by an hour year-round), we would provide children – and other pedestrians and vulnerable road users such as cyclists – extra daylight in the afternoons to make it home safely.

While this might increase the risk to vulnerable road users during darker mornings, the reduced risk in the evening would lead to a significant net reduction in overall deaths and injuries.

Errol Taylor, RoSPA chief executive, said: “Too many children and other road users are being killed and seriously injured on Britain’s roads because the autumn clock change suddenly plunges their evening journey into darkness, at the same time as other risk factors such as lower levels of alertness for motorists, and children’s tendency to take an indirect route home from school.

“The current daylight savings system is archaic, developed at a time when working practices and technology – not least automated vehicles – were a million miles from what we have today. We’d like to see the Government assess the potential benefits of the change, which could take the form of a short trial.

“Not only would a change save lives and reduce injuries, but it would also have a host of other benefits in terms of the environment, health, tourism, crime and social isolation.”

For more on RoSPA’s campaign and the additional benefits of SDST, see www.rospa.com/rospaweb/docs/advice-services/road-safety/british-summertime-factsheet.pdf

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