Time to change: Brake renews call to make the most of daylight hours and help save lives

28 March 2014

Brake, the road safety charity

As the clocks go forward this Sunday, Brake, the road safety charity, is renewing calls for government to make roads safer by putting the clocks forward by an hour all year-round. This would mean making the most of available daylight, with lighter afternoons and evenings in the winter months, reducing danger to pedestrians and cyclists.

Moving the clocks to GMT+1 in winter and GMT+2 in summer would save an estimated 80 lives a year and prevent hundreds of serious injuries on the roads [1], preventing needless suffering and saving the NHS around £138 million a year in the process [2].

Safer, lighter evenings would also encourage more recreational walking and cycling. Combined with Brake's GO 20 campaign for 20mph limits in cities, towns and villages, this would mean a powerful boost for healthy, active lifestyles. By slowing down to 20mph in built up areas, night and day, drivers can make a personal contribution to making roads safer for those on foot and bike.

In 2012, despite widespread support from the Lighter Later coalition, MPs, and letters from 26,300 members of the public, a Daylight Saving Bill which would have compelled the government to review and act on the evidence for changing the clocks, ran out of time. Now Brake is renewing its calls for government to make this common sense change.

Find out more about the Lighter Later and GO 20 campaigns to make roads safer for people on foot and bike. Tweet us: @Brakecharity, hashtag #LighterLater.

Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive, Brake, said: "Putting the clocks forward by an extra hour throughout the year is a simple change that would make a huge positive difference to society, giving us all more daylight to play with. With lighter afternoons and evenings, many more people would be able to get out and walk and cycle, to get to school or work, or simply for their health and enjoyment. People on foot or bike would be easier for drivers to see, many devastating road casualties would be prevented, and our communities would be more social, enjoyable places. As British summertime gets underway, we're also appealing to drivers to make their own change to protect people on foot and bike, by slowing down to 20mph around homes, schools and shops."

As British summertime starts, Brake is also appealing to schools, employers and community groups to support Brake's work and help raise awareness of pedestrian and cyclist safety by holding a Bright Day. These fun dress-down days promote the importance of drivers looking out for people on foot on foot and bike while raising vital funds for Brake's work supporting families devastated by road death and injury.

About the Lighter Later campaign
Brake is in a coalition of organisations campaigning for the clocks to go forward for an hour year round, making it GMT+2 in summer and GMT+1 in winter. This simple change would make our evenings lighter and give us more daylight during waking hours. It's estimated this would result in 80 fewer road deaths and hundreds fewer serious injuries each year [3], preventing unnecessary suffering and saving the NHS £138million annually [4].

It would also cut 447,000 tonnes of CO2 pollution [5], and save us all on our bills, because we would have to put our lights on less. Not to mention a big boost to leisure, tourism, and healthy life-styles because we get a bit more daylight to play with. Find out more at www.lighterlater.org.

In January 2012, the Lighter Later Bill ran out of time on the House floor, meaning MPs couldn't vote to put it through to its third reading, despite over 140 MPs staying to vote.

Brake is an independent road safety charity. Brake exists to stop the five deaths and 63 serious injuries that happen on UK roads every day and to care for families bereaved and seriously injured in road crashes. Brake runs awareness-raising campaigns, community education programmes, events such as Road Safety Week (17-23 November 2014), and a Fleet Safety Forum, providing advice to companies. Brake's support division cares for road crash victims through a helpline and other services.

Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.

End notes
[1] Report 368, a new assessment of the likely effects on road accidents of adopting a GMT+1/GMT+2 regime, Transport Research Laboratory, 1998
[2] Department for Transport, A Safer Way: Consultation on Making Britain's Roads the Safest in the World, 2009
[3] Report 368, a new assessment of the likely effects on road accidents of adopting a GMT+1/GMT+2 regime, Transport Research Laboratory, 1998
[4] Department for Transport, A Safer Way: Consultation on Making Britain's Roads the Safest in the World, 2009
[5] Chong, Y. Garnsey, E. Hill, S. & Desobry, F. Daylight Saving, Electricity Demand and Emissions; Exploratory Studies from Great Britain, 2009 http://www.ifm.eng.cam.ac.uk/people/ewg/091022_dst.pdf 

Tags: road safety Go 20 clock change road deaths Charity winter summer