Axeing the annual autumn clock change would save lives while also cutting costs to the economy, according to IAM RoadSmart.
Previous Government estimates have indicated that 80 lives a year could be saved in this way, reducing the number of people killed on our roads by 4.5% and saving the economy £160m. And IAM RoadSmart says the Government should at the very least set up a two-year trial to prove the benefits.
The road safety charity believes that moving to a permanent daylight-saving system would significantly improve road safety, especially for vulnerable road users such as children, pedestrians and cyclists.
“Every year there are unnecessary victims of road collisions throughout the winter months during commutes to work or school which could easily be avoided if the Government scrapped the process of changing the clocks,” said Neil Greig, policy and research director at the road safety charity.
“Stopping the change of clocks would be easy to implement and, without question, would save lives – there are no good road safety reasons why this isn’t happening.”
Data shows that in November and December 2019, the number of pedestrian and cyclist deaths and injuries rose by 344 (from 6,787 to 7,131, representing a 5% increase) compared with the two months prior to the clock change.
In 1968, the UK Government carried out an experiment to use British Summer Time for three years solidly, which led to a reduction of nearly 12% in road casualties in England and Wales. And existing figures prove that casualty rates rise between 3pm and 7pm as the days shorten.
IAM RoadSmart recommended earlier this year that to allow extra daylight in the afternoons, the Government should not put the clocks back this winter, but still move one hour ahead next March – and then go back one hour in October 2021 – a so-called ‘double British summer time’.
Greig added: “Road safety is now about small incremental gains from a number of policy changes and daylight saving could play its part in helping break the current flatlining in road deaths we are seeing in this country.”