Government urged to save lives by altering clock changes

Government urged to save lives by altering clock changes
Government urged to save lives by altering clock changes

As the nation prepares to set its clocks back an hour this weekend road safety campaigners are calling for a rethink on the entire policy in an effort to save lives.

GEM Motoring Assist has this week called on the Government to drop the current switch between Greenwich Meantime (GMT) and British Summertime (BST) and instead adopt the Single/Double British Summertime (SDST). This would adjust the clock to two hours ahead of GMT in summer and one hour ahead of GMT in winter.

It claims such a move would save up to 80 lives a year and prevent more than 200 serious injuries on the UK’s roads.

GEM road safety officer Neil Worth said: “Dark spells danger for pedestrians. There is a 10 per cent rise in fatal pedestrian collisions during the four weeks after the clocks go back. This is bad news when the latest casualty figures already show a 10 per cent rise in pedestrian fatalities year on year.

“We believe the reasons for opposing the change – generally from those representing the interests of farmers and postal workers – are irrelevant and outdated. After all, farming technology is vastly improved, and postal deliveries take place throughout the day, not purely in the early mornings.

“GEM, in line with all safety groups, supports a change to SDST, because it will make a significant contribution to reducing deaths and serious injuries on our roads.”

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) is also in favour of a move to SDST, saying it would create lighter evenings all year round and result in fewer people being killed and injured in road accidents as well as bringing environmental, economic and health benefits.

The proposals, however are not universally popular. Such a move would mean some parts of northern Scotland wouldn’t see the sun rise until nearly 10am and similar proposals have met with strong opposition from Scottish politicians.

When Tory MP Rebecca Harris introduced a Private Member’s Bill in 2011 calling for year-round daylight savings the then-First Minister Alex Salmond said it would “plunge Scotland into morning darkness” and his SNP colleague Angus MacNeil warned any change would have “massive implications for the safety and wellbeing of everyone living north of Manchester”.

Responding to Gem’s suggestions, a Government spokesman said: “The Government currently has no plans to make any changes to the daylight savings arrangements.”

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