Road safety organisations slam ‘pointless’ clock change

Turning the clocks back an hour in October is a pointless practice that costs lives and delivers a big economic hit to the NHS

Dark roadwith child and car

Two road safety organisations have said there are “no relevant arguments at all” for the “pointless practice” of turning the clocks back an hour in late October.

It is estimated there are 80 deaths and more than 200 serious injuries a year attributed to the October time change.

Three times as many children are injured on the way home from school than on the way to school – and more evening light would cut casualties.

GEM chief executive Neil Worth is now calling on the government to adopt a year-round Single/Double Summer Time, or SDST.

This would see winter time move one hour ahead of GMT, with summer time two hours ahead.

Mr Worth points to an earlier trial that ran in the late 1960s and early 1970s as evidence of how it would help road safety.

“An experiment to use year-round British Summer Time for three years from 1968 led to an 11 percent reduction in road casualties in England and Wales, as well as a 17 percent drop in Scotland.”

Experts even suggest there could be a 3 percent reduction in crime from abandoning the twice-yearly clock change.

Road safety charity IAM Roadsmart adds that £160 million could be saved for the economy too.

“The UK should at least set up a two-year trial to prove the benefits once and for all,” said the charity’s policy and research director Neil Greig.

“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.”

Top tips to stay safe in the dark

GEM has also outlined tips for parents and motorists to stay safe in the dusk or darkness.

  • Remove all steam, mist, dirt and ice from lights, windows and mirrors
  • In fog or rain, used dipped headlights
  • Be ready for the effects of glare from low winter sun, especially in the late afternoon, where glare can leave you with no forward vision at all
  • Don’t delay switching on your lights. Even if you think it’s still light enough, you may be less visible to other road users – especially if you drive a dark-coloured vehicle
  • Check your children are wearing something that will help them be seen easily. Fluorescent, bright clothing works best, but reflective material is needed when it’s dark


Government warned over 2021 ‘Automated Driving’ plans

‘Clock change kills people’ says RoSPA

How to improve your vision when driving in the dark

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Richard Aucock
Richard is director at Motoring Research. He has been with us since 2001, and has been a motoring journalist even longer. He won the IMCO Motoring Writer of the Future Award in 1996 and the acclaimed Sir William Lyons Award in 1998. Both awards are run by the Guild of Motoring Writers and Richard is currently chairman of the world's largest organisation for automotive media professionals. Richard is also a juror for World Car Awards and the UK juror for the AUTOBEST awards.


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