IAM and GEM reiterate call for BST changes

12.00 | 23 October 2012 | | 2 comments

In the run up to the clocks ‘going back’ this coming weekend, the IAM and GEM are calling for changes to British Summer Time (BST) to give more daylight hours in the evening.

A number of road safety stakeholders have made similar calls in the past, including Road Safety GB, RoSPA and the Lighter Later campaign.

The IAM points out that bringing the British time zone forward by an hour in both winter and summer would mean lighter evenings, when crashes are more likely. It also points to DfT figures which show that changing the daylight hours could prevent about 80 deaths and at least 200 serious injuries on our roads each year.

Simon Best, IAM chief executive, said: “Making evenings lighter would save lives.  While an extra hour of daylight would help to make the commute home much safer for all road users, children, cyclists and motorcyclists would benefit most.

“We want to see a three-year trial of the new daylight system. If the trial period proves the new daylight hours have a positive effect on road safety, it is clear that it is the system we should keep. With convincing evidence of the potential benefits, it is only right that we pilot a new system.

Despite the issue “falling to the bottom of the political agenda”, GEM Motoring Assist continues to back the Lighter Later campaign. 

David Williams MBE, CEO of GEM Motoring Assist, said: “There is strong evidence to show that road accident rates continue to rise each autumn, directly after the clocks go back. The reduced daylight hours not only mean that motorists are driving in the dark during rush hour, but pedestrians and other road users, particularly school children, are also at an increased risk.

“Poor weather, decreased visibility, and bad road conditions are all rife during the winter months and have a serious effect on the rise in number of accidents and hazardous breakdown situations. Changing the clocks only adds further to the dangers for road users.”


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    The earlier trial, 69 to 71, coincided with drink drive legislation which may have skewed the results. What should we do or not do to ensure any new trial will not suffer the same fate?

    With a recent rise in casualty data being blamed on lower resources for road safety education and enforcement perhaps we need to set up a control area. Scottish independance comes to mind.

    Peter Wilson London
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    We tried BST in winter between 1969 and 1971 but it was abandoned because it “was not good for the school children of Scotland” who had to go to school in the dark. However I understand that was a bit of a “Daily Wail/Excess hatchet job” and the casualty losses am were more than made up pm. If Scotland is independent then England and Wales could go to continental time.

    Mark Caerphilly
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