Ahead of the clocks ‘going back’ this weekend, RoSPA has issued its now traditional call for a ‘time-shift fit for the 21st century’ in order to improve safety for pedestrians.
British Summer Time (BST) was introduced 100 years ago in order to make the most of daylight hours during the First World War. However, RoSPA says the system has become ‘obsolete’ and for some years has been campaigning for a change from the current regime of GMT in the winter and GMT+1 in the summer, to Single/Double Summer Time (SDST).
In effect, this would move clocks 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 actively 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.
RoSPA says that in the autumn, when the clocks go back, road casualties rise – particularly among vulnerable road users including pedestrians, children, the elderly, cyclists and motorcyclists.
The charity points to statistics which show that in 2015, pedestrian deaths rose from 27 in September to 42 in October, 45 in November and 58 in December. RoSPA says that adopting SDST would save around 80 lives and 212 serious injuries annually.
Kevin Clinton, RoSPA’s head of road safety, said: “Child pedestrians are particularly vulnerable during the afternoon school run, when they digress on their way home and are exposed to traffic risk for longer than their morning trip to school.
“During that period motorists are also tired after the day’s work, concentration levels are low, and journey times are increased due to shopping and social trips.
“For these reasons, increased evening daylight would produce significant results in preventing accidents to children and other road users.”