Laura Sharman 05 December 2014

Councils criticised for switching off street lights

Councils criticised for switching off street lights image

Accidents in areas where councils have turned off street lights have continued to get worse, according to new research.

The motoring group AA has cited government figures that show road safety has seen accidents fall by 18.6%, and 24% in the wet, snow or ice over the past five years. However, on unlit roads this reduction is only 12% and 16.7% in bad weather conditions.

Edmund King, the AA’s president, said: ‘New official road safety statistics show that accident rates on blacked-out town and city roads are not getting better. In fact, on 40mph roads, they are getting much worse – particularly in bad weather. This is the type of road where most of the fatalities, for which coroners blamed street-light switch-offs as a contributory factor, happened.’

The group has urged councils to ensure street lighting is turned on along all 40mph or faster roads in built-up areas to improve safety for drivers and pedestrians.

‘If not, with national and local elections looming, putting cost-savings before road safety hands political opponents a strong populist position to argue on the doorsteps – as Richmond borough councillors found in 2010 when voters rejected CO2-related charges for cars parked with their engines off,’ King added.

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