As the nation prepares to move its clocks forward on Sunday to usher in the lighter summer evenings, RoSPA is calling for a change that would bring lighter evenings all year round.
Typically, around the period in the autumn when the clocks go back, bringing darker evenings, the number of pedestrians killed and seriously injured rises, with the peaks between the hours of 3pm-5pm.
Safety charity RoSPA believes that, were the UK to have lighter evenings year-round, multiple lives could be saved, with many more people being protected from the serious, life-changing injuries and heartbreak that road accidents cause.
The safety charity proposes a trial of Single/Double Summer Time (SDST), which would see the clocks move forward an extra hour while retaining daylight savings – so in the winter we would be on GMT+1 (like the current British Summer Time) and in the summer we would be on GMT+2.
Kevin Clinton, RoSPA’s head of road safety, said: “We’re calling for a trial period of SDST, to demonstrate the benefits it would bring. When twilight and early-evening darkness occurs during the afternoon school run and rush hour, it creates dangerous conditions. Although it can be dark in the morning too, there are many factors that make the afternoon commute more dangerous – drivers, riders and pedestrians are all more tired after a full day, so attention and awareness may not be as high, and children tend to take longer on the walk home from school while they talk to friends, go to do different activities, or take detours.”
Lighter evenings year-round have also been linked to a host of other business, health/wellbeing and environmental benefits, such as increased opening times for businesses and tourist destinations, extra light for after-school/after-work activities, energy savings, and reduced darkness for opportunist criminals.
RoSPA polling also shows there is an appetite for a trial, with 75 per cent of people who took part in an online survey at the end of 2017 saying they would support a change to create extra evening daylight.
To find out more about SDST and the benefits it would bring, see www.rospa.com/campaigns-fundraising/current/lighter-evenings/.