London, 23 October 1998.
For immediate release.

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'Reassessment' of statistics claims Summer Time would save 160 lives
But how many more road safety 'easy wins' are hidden behind 'speed kills' mantra?
A new and influential analysis of road casualty statistics claims that abandoning the October clock change, resulting in lighter evenings and darker mornings, would save 160 lives, including a whole class full of child pedestrians every year. Government safety advisor Robert Gifford said on the Today programme this morning that he was "absolutely convinced" by this report.

An ABD spokesman said: "If this is so, why has this analysis not been done before? Permanent summer time was abandoned in the 1970s, partially because road deaths supposedly increased, but now we have a full scientific study that says the opposite. Perhaps the focus on speed kills, which is based on simplistic, unscientific, knee jerk prejudice rather than on a proper assessment of accident causation, has prevented this research from being done earlier."

If the government and their advisors are prepared to take a fresh, if belated, look at the statistics and change their view so drastically on the subject of British Summer Time, they should certainly do so in other areas. The ABD would urge them most strongly to:

  1. Consider other areas where road safety could easily be improved but which they have sadly neglected - for example, statistics suggest that women are twice as likely to be involved in an accident at junctions, whereas men are twice as likely to have one overtaking. Why? If each sex could be made as good as the other in these areas, the reduction in these very common accidents would be enormous. Yet there are no government campaigns highlighting how overtaking and junction accidents happen and how to avoid them.

  2. Reassess the facts behind the anti speed agenda. Here's a starter. There are 18,000 child pedestrian injuries a year in urban areas. That's fact. There are around 100 urban child pedestrian deaths plus about 35 on the open road. That's fact, too. The TRL say that 5% of children will still die in 20mph collisions, with 50% at 30mph and 90% at 40mph. Let's take their word for it. If a third of these 18,000 urban child pedestrian injuries were really caused by speeding (government assertion), we would have thousands of deaths, not 100.
    SO VERY FEW CAN POSSIBLY BE CAUSED BY SPEEDING AND MOST MUST THEREFORE BE CAUSED BY SOMETHING ELSE THAT THE GOVERNMENT IS FAILING TO ADDRESS (rational deduction).

They seem now to be saying that a whole class - let us say a fifth of these deaths - could be saved by not changing the clocks. Why? Because careless, tired children step into the road and drivers do not see them. Whether or not this is related to BST, they have certainly hit the nail on the head. Even the accident the DETR deceitfully used to front the Kill Your Speed campaign was not caused by speeding but by the driver failing to see the child - in that case disgracefully in broad daylight on a pedestrian crossing.

How long are we going to tolerate a Government 'safety' policy that simply uses the tragic and avoidable deaths of children as an excuse for criminalising safe drivers?

IF YOU VALUE LIFE OR LIBERTY, TELL THE PUBLIC THE TRUTH

 

 

Notes for Editors