Fleet News

More than 70% of motorists opposed to clocks going back this Sunday

Seven out of ten motorists in the UK are against the clocks going back this week, according to a new survey.

And 60% of drivers thought there would be fewer deaths on British roads if the system were abolished.

A poll by car accident camera company Smart Witness showed that 70.8% of people would vote to abolish the practice of British Standard Time BST if there was a referendum tomorrow.

British Standard Time, also referred to a British Summer Time puts the clocks forward of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) by an hour on the last Sunday of March, and then puts them back again on the last Sunday of October.

One of the main reasons for opposition to the clocks going back an hour next Sunday October 27 was the increased number of deaths on the roads involving school-children because of darker afternoons.

Nearly two-thirds of drivers (60%) said the reason they wanted to stop the clocks going back was that road accident mortality rates rise significantly in the winter months after the clocks are put back.

Smart Witness managing director Simon Marsh said: “The findings from the survey were very clear: the vast majority of people in England do not want the clocks to go back in October and think the road safety is one of the main reasons why the law needs to change.

“Our company provides video accident cameras to private motorists, taxi firms, and haulage companies across the UK and every year we see a steep increase in the number of accidents after the clocks go back due to reduced visibility at afternoon rush-hour. Many of the insurers that we work with would welcome a change in the law because it would make a big reduction to the number of serious accidents on British roads.”

Road accident figures from 2011 show that pedestrian deaths rise sharply from 25 in September to 34 in October, 48 in November and up to 65 in December, according to the Royal Society of Prevention of Accidents (Rospa).

Also in 2009 the Department of Transport published a paper that confirmed that moving to lighter evenings would prevent about 80 deaths on the road a year, and would be cheap to implement.

Marsh added: “The reasoning is simple: darker afternoons cause more accidents than darker mornings. Motorists are more likely to be tired after a day’s work and concentration levels are lower, also children tend to go straight to school in the mornings but spend longer  travelling home in the afternoon, increasing their exposure to road dangers. There are also more shopping, social and leisure trips after work, so this is the time where it makes more sense for it to be lighter.”

In the Smart Witness survey entitled “Do You Want The Clock To Go Back?” motorists were asked whether they liked and disliked the clocks going back and 73.4% said they disliked it. The largest group of respondents, 46.4% said they didn’t like the fact it was dark when they travelled home from work. Another 12% said they disliked the fact it was more dangerous for women to commute home from work in the dark, and another 14.8% said they were concerned for the safety of school children. Only 26.5% came up with reasons that they liked the clocks going back – most of that group (20.3%) said they preferred having lighter mornings.

The majority (67.2%) also thought it would make things easier for Britain to trade with Europe if we were running on closer time to Central European Time.

Rospa has suggested replacing British Standard Time with a new system called Single Double British Summertime which is GMT + 2 hours in summer (March to October) and GMT + 1 hours from October to March.

For the first year of operation changing over from BST, the clocks wouldn’t go back at all in October, but the clocks would be put forward again in March, making the time GMT + 2 hours, the clocks would be put back the October after that to bring the time back to GMT + 1 hour.

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  • Mike Pump - 22/10/2013 15:01

    The rise in deaths because of the clock is news to me, but people should be more vigilant when driving in the dark, just as pedestrians should. I'm a cyclist and I notice that even with a high-vis jacket and lights that even adults do not look when crossing the road. Many times have I had to slam on the anchors and been thrust up in the air on one wheel trying to avoid such careless types. One could argue that it's natural selection, but maybe it's a bit harsh.

    • paul doyle - 24/10/2013 09:44

      @Mike Pump - 'natural selection' - yes that's very harsh. I doubt you would feel that way if it were one of your kids killed in a tragic road accident. People should always be vigilant yes, but we are human and can make mistakes. If there is a way to make things safer then why not make it safer. Next time you need medicine, or a doctor maybe you should refuse, after all, it's natural selection, survival of the fittest. Idiot.

  • Gary Bradshaw - 22/10/2013 19:18

    I think that it would altogether be the best idea if all clocks in Britain were left on British summer time permanently no more thinking about do the clocks go forward or backwards an hour and when do I move them. No more going to work in the dark and then returning home in the dark. Making the evening rush hour lighter and brighter making it safer for all, after all time as we know it is simply an idea someone came up with years ago is't it?

  • Anthony - 23/10/2013 11:50

    Stupid idea!

    • gary - 23/10/2013 12:04

      @Anthony - the only stupid idea is chopping and changing the time twice a year just to suit idiots like oneself

  • christine hudson - 25/10/2013 07:29

    Fantastic I'd much prefer longer daylight in summer therefore GMT+2 would be great and GMT+1 in winter

    • GrumpyOldMen - 25/10/2013 12:10

      @christine hudson - To be fair, the amount of daylight is the same no matter how you set your clock! I think we will always have diametrically opposed views on this depending whether you're a morning person, or an afternoon person. We seem o have a predominance of afternoon people here. I hate driving home in the dark but getting up in the dark is even worse. I'm probably (lesser of 3 evils) with Gary here. Set it and leave it.

  • A. Yates - 25/10/2013 15:42

    Why on earth do people each year argue over putting the clocks to GMT. Surely as that is where we would stay if the clock resetting was to stop they should be discussing why we move clocks each year to BST.

  • Gina Wade - 25/10/2013 16:17

    Sort it out! In January 2011 it was in the press that clocks would not change in 2013. What happened?

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