A road safety organisation has called on the government to stop the clocks going back in order to reduce the number of children killed coming home from school.
IAM Roadsmart has told the government that cancelling the clock change scheduled for Sunday, October 28, would cut the number of child casualties on British roads.
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The organisation argues that almost a quarter (22 percent) of the 15,976 children injured on UK roads during 2016 were hurt between 3pm and 5pm, and that the likelihood of a child being involved in a crash on the way home from school increases by 20 percent over winter.
“It is well known that casualty rates rise between 3pm and 7pm as the days shorten,” read a statement from the organisation. “Dark afternoons are an especially dangerous time for youngsters coming home, with less supervision and individuals heading off to different activities at different times in this key period.”
IAM Roadsmart also pointed at a Department for Transport paper from 2009, which said that moving to lighter evenings would prevent about 80 road deaths a year.
The organisation’s recommendations also say that while the clocks should stay where they are this winter, they should still go forward in March 2019, putting the UK on so-called ‘double BST’ and in line with the rest of Europe.
It is not the first time that IAM Roadsmart has asked for such a change to be made, but the director of policy and research, Neil Greig, is now suggesting that the UK “trial” the idea to “prove the benefits.”
Such a move would not be unprecedented, after a three-year experiment in 1968 saw British Standard Time (GMT+1) employed all year round.
According to the BBC, the experiment helped to reduce the number of casualties in the evening, but increased the number of children killed on the roads during the darker mornings – particularly in northern Scotland. As a result, MPs voted to discontinue the experiment.
Greig said there were “no good safety reasons” why the clocks should not be changed.
“Every year there are unnecessary young victims through the winter as children go home in the darkness from school or out-of-hours activities,” he said. “This is not difficult to achieve.
“We are playing with the lives of children for no good reason. Young pedestrians under 15 are already a huge ‘at risk’ group for road safety, and that risk becomes even greater as the nights draw in.
“It would be easy to implement, and without question save lives – so there are no good road safety reasons why this isn’t happening. The UK should at least trial the idea to prove the benefits once and for all.”