Making the Most of Daylight Hours, the implication for Northern Ireland

  • Published: Policy Studies Institute, University of Westminster, 2011
  • Authors: M. Hillman
  • Date Added: 18 Mar 2013
  • Last Update: 18 Mar 2013
  • Format: pdf

Objectives:

This Memorandum is focused on the implications for Northern Ireland of the adoption of the proposal to advance clocks by one hour. It seeks to provide an impartial assessment of whether the move would be of general benefit to the people of Northern Ireland.

Methodology:

An analysis of the potential advantages and disadvantages of advancing clocks by an additional hour in summer and winter

Key Findings:

  • The frequency and severity of RTIs is closely related to lighting conditions. RTIs are more likely to occur in the evening ‘peak’, when driver attentiveness declines and darkness reduces visibility.

  • The risk is particularly pronounced for vulnerable road users – children, elderly people, pedestrians and cyclists. During the 1968 – 71 trial of continuous British Summer Time in the UK, the afternoon peak occurred in daylight for a greater portion of the year, improving visibility and reducing the frequency of injuries.

  • Putting clocks forward by one hour would be likely to reduce road casualties in Northern Ireland. The 1998 Transport Research Laboratory study on the impact of the proposed clock change on road casualties estimated that it would lead to an overall reduction of over 100 deaths and serious injuries and would save £138 million each year. Unfortunately, this study only covered England, Wales and Scotland, but Northern Ireland is likely to benefit pro rata in relation to its population accounting for 3 per cent of that total. In 2009, the Public Accounts Committee confirmed the validity of this benefit.

  • In 2005 an IPSOS MORI poll found that 61 per cent of respondents in Greater London and Scotland approved of the proposal to advance the clocks. A 2006 Gallup poll in England, Scotland and Wales found 68 per cent of participants approved of SDST, with this figure increasing to 73 per cent once individuals were informed about road safety findings. Sadly, no current data exists for Northern Ireland specifically, but the aforementioned figures make it reasonable to predict similar support to that found in the rest of the UK.

Themes:

Public opinion, Northern Ireland, SDST

Comments:

Covers the main advantages and disadvantages of SDST.

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