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Scrap the October clock change to save lives and reduce fuel bills

Scrap the October clock change to save lives and reduce fuel bills

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) is calling for an end to the October clock change in order to save lives on the roads, improve wellbeing and help people reduce their fuel bills. Instead, the charity is calling for the UK to keep to British Summer Time (BST) all year.

Last year, pedestrian road deaths increase by a shocking 30 per cent after the October clock change. According to figures released by the Department for Transport, the number of pedestrian road deaths in the UK rose from 30 fatalities in October to 39 in November in 2020.

In 2019 we saw a similar pattern, with pedestrian fatalities as a result of road accidents rising from 36 in October to 54 in November-RoSPA calls this the ‘daylight savings spike’.

Errol Taylor, RoSPA’s Chief Executive Officer, said “Every year, after the clocks go back in October, there is a sharp increase in the number of fatal collisions on our roads because the evening commute is suddenly plunged into darkness. Even with COVID restrictions in place across the UK, last year was no exception. In order to save lives, RoSPA is calling time on the October clock change and suggesting we keep to BST all year.”

Maintaining BST all year, would give more hours of useable daylight in the afternoon and evening. Far more road traffic incidents happen in the afternoon/evening than they do in the morning because:

Motorists tend to be tired after a day’s work and their concentration levels are lower.

Children tend to go directly to school in the morning but often digress on their way home, which increases their exposure to road dangers.

Adults tend to go shopping or visit friends after work, increasing time spent travelling by road.

Social and leisure trips are generally made in the late afternoon and evenings, again increasing time on the road.

Errol continued: “As well as helping to reduce the number of road deaths, scrapping the October clock change brings a host of other benefits such as allowing for more daylight in the evenings to enjoy social activities, which is particularly important for promoting wellbeing during the colder months.

“Getting rid of the clock change and keeping to BST could also save people money. When the nights draw in we tend to spend more time indoors and as result spend more on lighting and heating our homes. With UK energy costs on the rise, BST would give us lighter evenings and therefore may delay the point at which we need to turn on the lights or the heating.”

Nick Kitchen, Underwriting Director at MORE THAN insurance, said: It’s really concerning to see that daylight savings time causes a spike in pedestrian road deaths every year, and our own data also shows that we typically see an increase in car insurance claims overall after the clocks go back. Road accidents can have disastrous consequences and more research is clearly needed to understand this important issue, reviewing the benefits of daylight savings time and whether a different approach or certainly wider awareness might be needed to reduce road collisions.

Nick continued: “As the evenings get darker, it’s vital that road users apply extra vigilance – most importantly, make sure your front and rear lights are all working properly, keep mirrors and windows free from dirt, try to keep to well-lit routes, avoid dazzling other drivers or pedestrians with your high-beams and allow extra time for your journey.”

RSA Insurance (which MORE THAN is a part of) has a charity partnership with RoSPA , collaborating on a number of initiatives to highlight risks and to help reduce the number of people who are seriously injured or killed in accidents at home or on the road.

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