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Daylight Saving Could Save UK Economy £6.5M

Keeping clocks forward over winter reduces serious road accidents by up to 20%, says University of Surrey study.

Daylight saving reduces serious road accidents by up to 20 percent – and keeping the clocks forward over winter could save the economy nearly £6.5 million ($8.2M).

British researchers analyzed a decade of data and found that in the days following longer evening light, serious accidents fell by a ‘dramatic’ 15 to 20 percent.

The University of Surrey team said this was because fewer accidents happened between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m.

And when the clocks change again in the autumn, bringing in darker evenings, minor road accidents rose by 13 percent.

This was caused by collisions between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m., meaning that drivers are more sensitive to light than to lack of sleep caused by the change.

Dr. Giuseppe Moscelli, Associate Professor in Economics and co-author of the study published in the journal Health Economics: “Driving conditions, including ambient light and sleep deprivation, are critical to driving behavior and road safety, but there is scarce evidence to establish such a causal link.

“This paper investigates this relationship, and its results point toward an ambient light conditions mechanism at the root of the increase in vehicle crashes.

“Our analysis suggests that changes in road accidents are not influenced by factors such as fuel prices or road usage but by lighting conditions.

“It begs the question of whether improving artificial lighting conditions in accident hotspots could improve outcomes for drivers.”

The research draws on data from road accident reports in Greece between 2006 and 2016.

The reports are often completed by police officers inspecting crashes and include information on the date, time, location, accident type, and whether it was fatal, serious, or minor.

Analysis suggests that changes in road accidents are not influenced by factors such as fuel prices or road usage but by lighting conditions. PHOTO BY MATT C/UNSPLASH 

The study also conducted an economic analysis of the financial cost of these accidents during seasonal clock changes using insurance claims data from the Hellenic Association of Insurance Companies.

Dr. Moscelli added: “Not transitioning back to Standard Time in the Autumn and keeping that extra hour of sunlight appears to not only be a lifesaver, but cost-effective for the taxpayer.

“Abolishing Daylight Saving Time could lead to cost savings of approximately €7.5 million per year during the spring transition because of the decrease in serious accidents during the additional evening daylight hour provided by DST.”

Produced in association with SWNS Talker

Edited by Saba Fatima and Newsdesk Manager

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