Government Savings Drive Increases Likelihood Of Accidents

Tue 23rd Apr 2019

A Government backed initiative to save energy has had a negative effect on the amount and deaths and injuries on unlit motorways according to a new report.

Highways England had turned off the lights on certain sections of the motorway to save money, but their own report now reveals that there has been a significant increase in the number of deaths and injuries on the same roads that previously had working lights.

The Government agency took the cost-cutting measure of turning off motorway lights on several sections of major motorways between 2010 and 2011, with the areas going dark from midnight to 5am. But the report has found a 88 per cent increase in the number of casualties, with 175 casualties in 2017 compared to just 93 in 2010.

Despite the findings, Highway England maintains that saving money is never put ahead of driver safety.

“We light what needs to be lit, and we know where those locations are,” said Highway England’s head of road safety, Richard Leonard.

"We have a greater understanding of where night-time collisions occur and the impact road lighting would have.

"This means we can target lighting where it is needed, rather than putting lights everywhere.”

The AA were critical of the changes when they were first made at the beginning of the decade and after the latest findings they are calling on a full enquiry into how the measures are affecting driving conditions on the UK’s road network.

Speaking in The Times Edmund King, the AA president, said: “We believe that there should be a full investigation into the real consequences of turning lights off.”