Pedestrian casualty figures ‘prove it’s time for a change’: RoSPA

12.00 | 27 October 2017 | | 6 comments

RoSPA has renewed its call for a move away from British Summer Time (BST), pointing to figures which show that more children are being hurt on Britain’s roads during the late afternoon and early evening than at any other time of day.

The Department for Transport (DfT) stats show that of the 15,976 child casualties on Britain’s roads in 2016, 22% were hurt during the hours of 3-5pm – while more than 33% of all pedestrian casualties happened between those times.

This compares to 14% of children being injured during the morning school run, between the hours of 7-9am.

In 2016, pedestrian injuries for all age groups were at their highest in November – something RoSPA attributes to the ‘suddenly-darker evenings’.

BST was introduced 100 years ago in order to make the most of daylight hours during the First World War, but RoSPA is campaigning for a change to Single/Double Summer Time (SDST). This would see the clocks moved forward to GMT+1 in the winter, and GMT+2 in the summer, increasing evening sunlight year-round.

In the past, this move has been supported by Road Safety GB and other stakeholders including Brake and IAM RoadSmart.

In 2012, campaigners hoping to get UK clocks moved forward by an hour all year round accused a small group of MPs of talking a Private Member’s Bill out of time.

The Bill had the support of more than 90 organisations and 120 MPs who all voted to pass the motion; just 10 attending MPs were against, but the session ran out of time before the motion could be passed.

While RoSPA acknowledges the change to SDST might increase the risk to vulnerable road users during darker mornings, it says the reduced risk in the evening would lead to a ‘significant net reduction in overall deaths and injuries’.

Errol Taylor, RoSPA chief executive, said: “Too many children and other road users are being killed and seriously injured on Britain’s roads because the autumn clock change suddenly plunges their evening journey into darkness, at the same time as other risk factors such as lower levels of alertness for motorists, and children’s tendency to take an indirect route home from school.

“The current daylight savings system is archaic, developed at a time when working practices and technology – not least automated vehicles – were a million miles from what we have today.

“We’d like to see the Government assess the potential benefits of the change, which could take the form of a short trial.”

Category: General news.


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    From information given in the 2016 DfT report there were some 23.550 pedestrian accidents and of these some 26% were children under 15 yrs and that gives a complete total of children injured of some 6123 and not the figures given at the beginning of this report. In total the death toll of under 15yr olds was given as 448.

    Either I have it completely wrong or Rospa do.

    m.worthington Manchester
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    Andrew is right and in reply to Mark during winters days no matter what the clock says or whatever time strategy is in place its going to be dark from half past three to four o clock in our northern hemisphere so anyone out at that time or after that time, be they young or old, will be in some degree of darkness and so the hours of 5 to 9pm will apply to darkness at those times anyway.

    Bob Craven Lancs
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    If there was actually a great deal to be gained from this, surely schools would long ago have opened while it’s dark and closed while it’s light – regardless of whether GMT, BST or DDST applied? Having looked at the distribution of road traffic accidents involving pedestrians aged 5-15 years in darkness with street lights lit since 1981 to date, it seems that there may be far less to be gained from the proposal than its proponents claim. But I could be wrong …

    In passing, 77% of the relevant casualties in “my” area result from road traffic accidents occurring after 1700hrs.

    Andrew Fraser, Stirling
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    I do wish people would recognise that drivers are protected by a metal box and the faster you go, the more severe the injuries to the person outside the box. Road safety isn’t rocket science, it’s 9/10’ths Politics.

    Nadeem Up North
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    Bob, whilst I agree about clothing and that darkness falls eventually, the peak time for pedestrians, particularly children, to be out and about during times of high traffic flows is in the time between end of school or work and evening meal. Not only is the time from breakfast to start of school or work shorter, people are focused on the journey and not also socialising and winding down.

    In the 70’s we had an experiment with constant BST (only the UK had retained DST at that time) and the figures showed that pedestrian casualties were down. However, the press was against it and also northern outdoors workers disliked going to work and working in the dark, so we were allowed to believe the measure was putting children at risk going to school.

    On another related issue, using MAST, I found that for one city at least, where child casualties peaked in the morning and early evening for most socio/economic groups, for the most deprived group the evening peak extended and even rose in the 6 pm to 9 pm time slot, so lighter nights would be more beneficial to that group of children, but still for all of them.

    Mark, Caerphilly
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    It seems to me that it doesn’t matter what happens with the clocks. Darkness will inevitably fall earlier or later in the mornings or in the early evenings and so one is still faced with the problem of possible increased incidents.

    I do wish that more pedestrians learn how to keep themselves safe at dark times and in the rain. Many do not wear any light reflective clothing and fewer wear anything that could be considered day glo or illuminating and therein lies the problem. So often they step off the kerb and into oblivion.

    Bob Craven Lancs
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