RoSPA is urging people to make the Government see the light over the way Britain changes its clocks in a bid to save 450 deaths and serious injuries on the roads each year.
As British Summer Time ends this weekend, the Society would like to hear from people who back its campaign for lighter evenings all-year-round and for them to put pressure on their MPs to support a switch to a new system.
RoSPA wants the UK clocks to stay one hour ahead of Greenwich Mean Time in the winter and two hours ahead in the summer, because this would lead to around 450 fewer deaths and serious injuries, including between 104 and 138 fewer deaths. In essence, this change would mean moving an hour of daylight from the morning to the evening so that it would not go dark so early in the winter.
In 2005, deaths and serious injuries among pedestrians rose from 609 in October to 738 in November, after the clocks had changed - this included a jump in the number of children being seriously hurt or killed from 165 to 186. The accident rate for all road users also showed a big increase with the number of people killed on the roads going up from 287 to 319.
Kevin Clinton, RoSPA Head of Road Safety, said: "Ministers at the Department for Transport and the Department of Trade and Industry (which is responsible for the way clocks are changed) have accepted the road safety arguments for a change. But they remain unconvinced that there would be enough public support for a new system.
"As well as protecting vulnerable road users such as children and the elderly, who are much more at risk during dark evenings, the extra evening daylight would increase opportunities for outdoor activity, helping to promote fitness and health and tackle our growing obesity problem. It would save energy and fuel costs, and so reduce the UK's energy consumption and emissions. The commerce, sports, leisure and tourism sectors of the economy would also benefit.
"We need people to demonstrate that they do think it is a good idea and back our call for a three-year time trial which would prove the benefits.
RoSPA has written to the DTI seeking a change of policy. People can express their support by contacting MPs, writing to Kevin Clinton at RoSPA, 353 Bristol Road, Birmingham B5 7ST, or voting online at www.rospa.com/lighterevenings/.
See also http://www.rospa.com/roadsafety/info/summertime_briefing.pdf.