With the clocks going back this Sunday (28 October) IAM RoadSmart has again called to scrap the practice this year, and switch to a daylight saving system to cut the number of young children injured in road crashes on their way home from school over the winter months.
Statistics from the Department for Transport show that of the 15,976 children hurt on Britain’s roads in 2016, nearly a quarter (22%) were hurt during the hours of 3-5pm (reference 1).
The likelihood of a child being involved in a crash on the way home from school increases by 20% over the winter months.
It is well known that casualty rates rise between 3pm and 7pm as the days shorten. IAM RoadSmart warns that the 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.
According to official statistics, in 2016 pedestrian deaths rose from 20 in September to 35 in October, 50 in November and 67 in December (also reference 1).
In 2009, the Department for Transport’s consultation paper ‘A Safer Way: Making Britain’s Roads the Safest in the World’ stated that moving to lighter evenings would prevent about 80 deaths on the road a year (reference 2).
IAM RoadSmart is especially concerned for youngsters aged 10-14, who have graduated to secondary school and are often making their way home solo for the first time. For this age group, road crashes make up over 50% of all external causes of death (reference 3).
IAM RoadSmart is suggesting that to allow extra daylight in the afternoons we should not put the clocks back this winter, then next March move one hour ahead – and then go back one hour in October 2019 (so called ‘double British summer time’ which also aligns us with most of Europe).
Neil Greig, IAM RoadSmart director of policy and research, said: “Every year there are unnecessary young victims through the winter as children go home in the darkness from school or out-of-hours activities. 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.”
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IAM RoadSmart has a mission to make better drivers and riders in order to improve road safety, inspire confidence and make driving and riding enjoyable. It does this through a range of courses for all road users, from online assessments through to the advanced driving and riding tests. IAM RoadSmart is the trading name of all businesses operated by the UK’s largest road safety charity, the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) and was formed in April 2016 combining the IAM, IAM Drive & Survive, PDS and IAM Driver Retraining Academy. The organisation has 92,000 members and campaigns on road safety on their behalf. At any one time there are over 7,000 drivers and riders actively engaged with IAM RoadSmart’s courses, from members of the public to company drivers, while our Driver Retraining Academy has helped 2,500 drivers to shorten their bans through education and support programmes.
To find out more about IAM RoadSmart commercial products and services visit the new website www.iamroadsmart.com/business
To find out more about IAM RoadSmart’s Driver Retraining Academy visit www.iamdra.org.uk
To find out the name of your own local IAM RoadSmart group please visit: https://wwwiamroadsmart.com/local-groups