Scrapping the October clock change could reduce road accidents

Written by Ellie

The UK could potentially change its clocks back an hour for the final time this weekend.

Switching to daylight saving time usually sparks a rise in road collisions of around a third.

But if the UK manages to strike a Brexit deal with the EU, all clocks in the block would adopt summer time permanently from April 2019 and not be changed back in the October.

This decision was made after eight out of ten EU member states wanted to abolish the current system.

So if Britain leaves the EU with a deal, it would have to carry out the change as the policy comes into effect during the two-year transition period.

That said, the House of Lords will challenge the decision, believing that the Commission has overstepped the mark by not allowing member states the opportunity to opt in to such a move.

Road safety benefits

One of the main road safety arguments for implementing a permanent summer time are having lighter evenings, with road accidents more likely in the evening rush hour than during the morning equivalent.

According to the latest figures from the Department for Transport, 53,417 casualties occurred during the 2016 evening rush hour (4pm – 7.59pm), compared to 32,036 during the morning rush hour (6am – 9.59am).

Consequently, many motorists are in favour of the idea, with two-fifths (42 per cent) of the 20,666 motorists surveyed by the AA this month being keen on the idea of permanent summer time.

However, a similar proportion of Scottish drivers (45 per cent) are against such a move, because it would mean that the sun wouldn’t rise until 10am in some areas.

Jack Cousens, the AA’s head of roads policy, said: “The prospect of lighter evenings would give way to the winter woes of having to commute to and from work in the dark. But in parts of Scotland, many agricultural workers could be plunged into darkness for long periods of the day.

“While the Lords will debate the prospect of launching a challenge to the directive from the EU commission, the government hasn’t said if it is ready to call time on BST.”

Ellie Baker, brand manager at Fuel Card Services, comments: “With potential road safety benefits, there is clearly a compelling case for adopting summer time on a full-time basis.”

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Posted on 26th October 2018

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