Impact of daylight saving time on road traffic collision risk

Bills have been put forward in the UK and Republic of Ireland proposing a move to Central European Time (CET). Proponents argue that such a change will have benefits for road safety, with daylight being shifted from the morning, when collision risk is lower, to the evening, when risk is higher | BMJ Open

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Background: Studies examining the impact of daylight saving time (DST) on road traffic collision risk can help inform the debate on the potential road safety benefits of a move to CET. The objective of this systematic review was to examine the impact of DST on collision risk.

Findings: Twenty-four studies met the inclusion criteria. Seventeen examined the short-term impact of transitions around DST and 12 examined long-term effects. Findings from the short-term studies were inconsistent. The long-term findings suggested a positive effect of DST. However, this cannot be attributed solely to DST, as a range of road collision risk factors vary over time.

Interpretation: The evidence from this review cannot support or refute the assertion that a permanent shift in light from morning to evening will have a road safety benefit.

Full reference: Carey, R.N. & Sarma, K.M. (2017) Impact of daylight saving time on road traffic collision risk: a systematic review. BMJ Open. 7:e014319

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