RoSPA is urging the House of Lords to support a three-year time trial which will bring lighter evenings all-year-round and save around 450 deaths and serious injuries on the country's road each year.
The Lighter Evenings (Experiment) Bill will have its second reading in the Lords tomorrow (Friday). It proposes that in England clocks should stay one hour ahead of Greenwich Mean Time in the winter and two hours ahead in the summer. Other countries in the UK would be left to make their own decision on whether to join the experiment which would run from October this year to October 2009.
Under the current system, road casualty rates increase after the clocks are moved back to GMT at the end of October, with the arrival of darker evenings and worsening weather conditions. In 2004, road deaths rose from 269 in October to 300 in November and to 323 in December. Pedestrian deaths went up from 56 in October to 76 in November and 78 in December and the overall casualty rate for road accidents also increased.
The new proposal would result in darker mornings, but an extra hour of evening daylight throughout the year. A report commissioned by the Government showed that this would lead to around 450 fewer deaths and serious injuries, including
between 104 to 138 fewer deaths.
Kevin Clinton, RoSPA Head of Road Safety, said: "We urge the Lords to support the scheme for lighter evenings all-year-round and hope the proposal will win Government backing as well. Studies show that vulnerable road users such as children and the elderly are more at risk during dark evenings than in the morning.
"RoSPA believes a three-year time trial will prove the safety case and help to crystallize opinion on other issues surrounding changing the clocks."