Britain still in the dark as charity renews call to make the most of daylight and make roads safer

Friday 27 March 2015

Brake, the road safety charity
news@brake.org.uk 

As the clocks spring forward this Sunday, politicians are being reminded that the way Britain sets its clocks is wasting hours of potentially productive daylight and creating unnecessary risk on our roads. Brake, the road safety charity, is calling on all political parties to commit to putting the clocks forward an hour year round, a move which would make the most of available daylight, and bring about lighter afternoons and evenings, and therefore safer streets, in the winter months.

With more people travelling in daylight rather than darkness, road journeys would become safer for all, especially vulnerable pedestrians and cyclists. It has been estimated that moving the clocks to GMT +1 in winter and GMT +2 in summer would prevent 80 deaths and hundreds of serious injuries on UK roads every year [1], preventing needless suffering and saving the NHS £138 million a year in the process [2].

Lighter, safer evenings could 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. Brake is reminding that at all times of year by slowing down to 20mph in built up areas, drivers can make a personal contribution to making roads safer for those on foot and bike.

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, the road safety charity, said: “Putting the clocks forward by an hour year-round is a simple move that would have a wide range of benefits for society, including helping to cut devastating road casualties. With more daylight available in the afternoons and evenings, people would be safer and feel more confident getting out and about on foot or bike, whether to get back from school or work or for recreation. Our communities would be more social, enjoyable places. As British summertime gets underway, we’re calling on whoever forms the next government to waste no time, and implement these changes.”

About the Lighter Later campaign

Brake is part of a coalition of organisations campaigning for the clocks to go forward for an hour year round, making it GMT +1 in winter and GMT +2 in summer. 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, 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 in the House of Commons, preventing more than 140 MPs who had stayed to vote from doing so.

Brake

Brake is a national road safety charity that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies. We do this through national campaignscommunity education, services for road safety professionals and employers, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs.

Brake was founded in the UK in 1995, and now has domestic operations in the UK and New Zealand, and works globally to promote action on road safety.

Follow Brake on Twitter or Facebook. Follow Julie Townsend on Twitter.

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