As we prepare, this weekend, to turn the clocks forward and welcome the start of spring, Brake, the road safety charity, is calling on the UK government to commit to moving to Single/Double Summer Time (SDST), a change that would require us to move our clocks forward an additional hour all year round.
The change would create lighter evenings all year round and would allow many road users, especially cyclists and pedestrians, to take advantage of the benefits of natural light to remain safe and be seen during the busiest hours on our roads. Travelling in daylight during the winter months could have particular life-saving implications: UK statistics show that pedestrian deaths and the vehicle casualty rate both increased during the winter months of 2015, a consistent trend over recent years .
Previous studies have estimated that moving the clocks to an hour ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT+1) in winter, and two hours ahead (GMT+2) in summer, would prevent 80 deaths and hundreds of serious injuries on UK roads every year [2,3]. There are also significant environmental benefits to be gained from implementing SDST, it has been estimated that the switch would reduce CO2 pollution by up to 447,000 each year .
Introducing SDST to the UK would encourage more people to walk or cycle to and from their destination rather than travelling by car. This would be a powerful boost to the wellbeing of local communities, promoting safer, more sustainable transport and healthier lifestyles for many individuals.
Gary Rae, campaigns director for Brake, said: “Brake has been campaigning for the clocks to be changed for good for many years. It is such a simple and effective way to reduce deaths and injuries on our roads, and carries so many other benefits, like increased daylight leisure time, and reduced carbon emissions. I want the government to look at this much neglected issue again.”