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MP Criticises Current Daylight-Saving Measures

Existing Daylight-Saving System Could Be Causing More Road Accidents


Dave Grimshaw, Press Officer | 0114 274 4397

Sir Greg Knight believes road safety standards would improve if the UK changed its current daylight-saving procedures.

The clocks were turned back an hour at the weekend (October 27th), but the MP for East Yorkshire feels this practice should be scrapped.

Sir Greg raised the issue in the House of Commons, suggesting the darker afternoons are hindering the government's attempts to reduce the number of casualties on the nation's roads.

More vehicles are on the road between 4pm and 6pm each day, so it makes sense, in Sir Greg's opinion, to have as much natural light as possible during this busy period.

"Is the deputy leader of the House aware that this weekend we are to undertake the flawed ritual of putting our clocks back by one hour, thereby plunging the UK into darkness by mid-afternoon?" he remarked.

Instead of turning the clocks back, the MP feels it would be a better idea to stick with British Summer Time, or even introduce "double summer time", where the clocks are put forward by an hour.

"That would make the afternoons lighter, it would reduce the number of road accidents and it would boost tourism," Sir Greg added.

Deputy Commons leader Tom Brake took Sir Greg's recommendations on board and insisted the Government is in favour of making better use of daylight, although a set timeframe for any potential changes has not yet been put in place.

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) has been calling for these reforms for a long time and it pointed towards Department for Transport research that suggested around 80 deaths and 200 serious injuries could be prevented if the UK stuck with British Summer Time all year round.

RoSPA leaders have issued a warning to cyclists and pedestrians - particularly joggers - to make sure they are decked out in luminous reflective clothing when venturing out in the dark. Chief executive at the organisation, Tom Mullarkey, has also urged people to pledge their support for the body's Lighter Evenings campaign.

Expert Opinion
There are conflicting interest groups around the issue of whether to retain BST all year round as the Lighter Evening campaign calls for. On road safety grounds though, the statistics seem to be stacked up pretty clearly in favour.

As we move into winter it is important that everyone using the roads including drivers, cyclists and pedestrians, makes sure they take more care with the changing weather and in poor visibility.

I have worked with clients who have become seriously injured in accidents where drivers have blamed poor visibility because of the weather or the lighting. If changes to the daylight-saving procedure was likely to improve road safety I think it would be worth exploring. Then again, it’s no substitute for keeping a proper lookout on the road!"
Neil Whiteley, Partner