Street lights on major roads in the UK could be switched off between midnight and 5am, under a new Highways Agency plan. The street light blackout is intended to cut carbon emissions and will be presented early next year as part of the agency’s energy efficiency strategy; some local councils already switch off street lights to save money.
But safety concerns have been expressed by Edmund King, president of the UK Automobile Association, who says extinguishing street lights to save money or reduce CO2 could bring more crashes: “In the dark, drivers’ reaction tends to be slower and stopping distances longer. Street lighting can reduce the risk of crashes and their severity.” Research estimates that surface-street lighting reduces the risk of nighttime crashes by 10%. A separate study has shown that while only a quarter of all journeys are between the hours of 7pm and 8am, that same period accounts for 40% of fatal and serious injuries on the roads.