RoSPA:: Help Prevent The Accident Surge As Clocks Change

As darker evenings return this weekend, RoSPA is urging all road users to play a part in trying to reduce the toll of deaths and injuries made worse by the current way clocks are changed.

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents wants people not only to take extra care as the nights draw in, but also to continue to press politicians to introduce a system which would bring lighter evenings all year round.

Kevin Clinton, RoSPA Head of Road Safety, said: "Road accident rates rise after the clocks change in October and visibility and weather conditions begin to worsen.

"Studies have shown that 450 lives and serious injuries could be saved each year if we stayed one hour ahead of Greenwich Mean Time in the winter and two hours ahead in the summer.  Vulnerable road users such as children and the elderly are much more at risk during dark evenings than in the morning.

"Ideally, we would like the Government to agree to a three-year time trial to prove the road safety arguments.  People would also be able to appreciate other benefits such as increasing the opportunity for outdoor activities, helping to promote fitness and tackling the obesity problem.  The leisure and tourism industry would be boosted.

"There would be savings in energy and fuel costs  - confirmed by a new Cambridge University report showing that turning the clocks back leads to a surge in greenhouse gas emissions and adds millions of pounds to power bills.

"But we know that is not going to happen this year so we must do all we can to ensure there are as few accidents as possible.  Motorists should watch their speed and be aware they are less likely to see vulnerable road users such as pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists.

"Parents should make sure children wear bright clothing, preferably with fluorescent or reflective strips.  They should explain that it will be dark on the way home from school and it will be difficult for drivers to see them.  All pedestrians ought to bear this in mind.

"Cyclists can help themselves to be seen by cleaning their lights and fitting new batteries."

Under the RoSPA plan for Single/Double Summertime, rather than reverting to Greenwich Mean Time in October, the clocks would stay one hour ahead until spring when they would be put forward another hour in March.  Once these initial adjustments had been made the clocks would still be moved backwards and forwards by an hour in autumn and spring, but would always stay ahead of GMT.

25 October 2007 Staff

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