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RoSPA Press Office : Press Release

October 26, 2005

With deaths on Britain’s roads expected to rise again after the clocks go back this weekend, RoSPA today urged the Government to switch to a system that would bring lighter evenings all-year-round.

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents believes around 450 deaths and serious injuries would be avoided on the country’s roads each year simply by altering the way clocks are changed in autumn and spring.

The Society wants the Government to bring in a three-year time trial to prove how lives could be saved.

Under the current system, road casualty rates increase after the clocks are moved at the end of October, with the arrival of darker evenings and worsening weather conditions. In 2004, road deaths rose from 269 in October to 300 in November and to 323 in December. Pedestrian deaths went up from 56 in October to 76 in November and 78 in December and the overall casualty rate for road accidents also increased.

The RoSPA plan is 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. This would result in darker mornings, but an extra hour of evening daylight throughout the year. Once the 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.

Kevin Clinton, RoSPA Head of Road Safety, said: “We will continue to lobby the Government urging it to support the scheme for lighter evenings all-year-round. Studies show that vulnerable road users such as children and the elderly are more at risk during dark evenings than in the morning.”

All road users need to take extra care in the coming weeks as visibility and weather conditions deteriorate. Motorists should watch their speed as the nights become darker, and be aware that they are less likely to see vulnerable road users such as pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists. People should check their lights and brakes and have their cars serviced for the winter.

Parents should ensure children wear bright clothing, preferably with fluorescent or reflective strips. They should check cycles to make sure reflectors are clean and fit new batteries to lights. Children should be reminded that it will soon be dark on their way home and that it will be difficult for motorists to see them.

For further information visit the Road Safety section of the RoSPA web site.

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