Monday, November 1, 2010


The Health and safety lobby are about to clash with the recession, in that a lot of councils have decided to switch their street lights off after midnight to save money. Cue, strong language about the probable carnage on our streets etc, etc.

FATAL road crashes will soar as cash-strapped councils switch of street lights to save cash during the dark winter months, safety experts warn.
Thousands of miles of roads and motorways are to be plunged into ­darkness as town hall chiefs reign back their spending – hit hard by the ­coalition’s cutbacks.
So far, 36 councils are to implement a “black out” on roads during the early hours of the morning. Others are dimming lights to save electricity costs. 
The Highways Agency also plans to turn off lights on some stretches of motorway from midnight to 5am.
Critics yesterday slammed the money-saving measures, claiming dark roads, coupled with the harsh winter weather, could spell disaster.
The AA said: “Statistics show that more people are killed or seriously injured in the dark, so switching off street lighting at any time of day has safety implications and accidents could potentially increase as a result.
“Councils must monitor the impact of the scheme and be prepared to switch the lights back on if there are any changes to accident trends.”
A survey by ­Halfords found 1.9 per cent of road accidents on major roads are fatal where there are no lights, compared with 1.3 where lights are on. On smaller roads the figures are 4.9 per cent for dark roads, compared with 3.1 per cent when the lights are bright.
The switch off comes as the clocks went back an hour yesterday plunging Britain into evening darkness.
Yes, I suppose there's a chance of more accidents, however it's not like they are planning to switch them off at 6 pm is it? One of the strange things you notice when driving about at midnight should you have too is how few people there are about and how few cars there are. You also notice that your car has lights and that they illuminate the road in front of you. Certainly there is an increases danger, but I don't believe for a second that it's going to be anywhere near as bad as the health and safety experts say, after all these are the guys who hammered on for years about speed cameras making roads safer only for Swindon Council to prove that no they don't.
By all means switch the lights off after midnight, switch them off totally on motorways too, save at junctions. They aren't needed particularly, an exception could be made on New Years Eve I guess, but again people would manage,

Would be nice to get rid of some of the light pollution over this country and give people a chance to look at the stars again.

2 annotations:

Anonymous said...

When driving long journeys at night I find street lights are very helpful, much less tiring than driving somewhere like Normandy where most rural roads are unlit, and especially so in poor weather.
But our roads are so ridiculously overlit! We could lose every alternate light almost everywhere and be no worse off. Some roundabouts and junctions are lit brighter than my sitting room. Rather than areas of pitch darkness why not simply halve the number of lights everywhere?

English Pensioner said...

I find the change from lit to unlit roads and vice-versa more of the problem these days as my eyes take more time to become accustomed to the change. I'd be quite happy if none were lit. Perhaps some analysis of "more people are killed or seriously injured in the dark" is called for. There seem to be a lot of cyclists determined to get killed by riding unlit push-bikes in camouflage clothing! I wonder when one was last prosecuted for cycling without lights?