New figures collated by the AA have shown a shocking disparity that has arisen between accident rates on the UK’s lit and unlit roads.
With local authorities up and down the country embracing measures to reduce their energy usage and carbon output by turning off street lighting between the hours of midnight and 05:00, the AA has revealed there is now a difference in the likelihood of incidents occurring between areas that remain illuminated and those which do not.
Overall, the organisation showed there was a 15.6 per cent reduction in accident rates from 2007 to 2012 and noted this is an extremely positive development.
However, roads that remained lit saw a fall in accident statistics of 19.6 per cent, compared to a fall of just 8.8 per cent on routes where energy-saving measures had been introduced by leaving some unlit roads.
In response to the report, AA president Edmund King commented: “Firstly and fundamentally, roads that are safe when lit can become unsafe with the lights switched off, but that is only shown when drivers, cyclists, bikers and pedestrians start to get hurt and killed.
“Secondly, with an extra casualty here and there, it is difficult to spot a creeping overall trend that might suggest something is dangerously wrong with a blackout.”
He concluded it is therefore essential that local authorities now assess the impact of energy-saving measures through the switching off of lighting and whether accident rates could be further tackled by a commitment to provide proper levels of illumination for road users at all times.
Young drivers in particular may lack the adequate experience necessary to navigate dark and unlit roads safely and therefore this is an issue they should be more acutely aware of and take all necessary precautions to stay safe at night.
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