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Isn’t It About Time For European Time?

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

The DriveWrite Archives British Government

Isn’t It About Time For European Time?

Geoff Maxted
DriveWrite
October 21, 2013


British Standard Time
Seven out of ten motorists in the UK are against the clocks going back this week, according to a new survey, whilst six out of ten drivers thought there would be fewer deaths on British roads if the system were abolished.

A new 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 27th October 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.

The company, which provides video accident cameras to private motorists, taxi firms and haulage companies 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 that road safety is one of the main reasons why the law needs to change”.

Many insurers would apparently 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). 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. Nevertheless, nothing, as you might have expected, has been done.

RoSPA have 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.

That still sounds a bit complex. I had to get a pen and paper out. Why don’t we just go to Central European Time and be done with it? Governments are elected by a majority (sort of). In a democracy the majority rules yet nothing is done. Of course, as with anything like this, there will be losers - people living in northern Scotland for example; but if it’s what the majority want…



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