National Commute Smart Day which takes place on Wednesday November 1 2006 has received the support of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA). With the clocks having gone back the previous Sunday, signalling the impending arrival of winter, many commuters will be faced with going home in the dark and the greatly increased risk of death or injury on the roads.
Commute Smart Day is planned by Work Wise UK, a not-for-profit organisation that promotes the benefits of smarter working practices. It is also backed, among many organisations, by the TUC, CBI and Transport for London. The day will highlight the possibilities of avoiding this risk during the winter months by encouraging employers to adopt smarter working practices such as home working or flexible hours, reducing the number of commuter journeys.
Phil Flaxton, Chief Executive of Work Wise UK, National Commute Smart Day said: "Among the many benefits of smart working is its effect on transport, particularly in avoiding commuter journeys, contributing to safety by reducing a major element of risk in many people's everyday lives."
According to latest Government statistics - 'Road Casualties Great Britain 2005' - there was an increase in the number of road users killed in November from 287 in October to 319 - or an increase of 11%. This surge in casualty rates between October and November, which occurs every year, can be attributed to road users and pedestrians struggling to adapt to the darker evenings.
Kevin Clinton, RoSPA Head of Road Safety, said: "The clocks going back signal an increase in road accidents. Deteriorating weather conditions combined with dark evenings mean bad news for road users and pedestrians. We support National Commute Smart Day as it aims to reduce the need to travel, ultimately cutting down on death and injury on our roads at this particularly dangerous time of the year."
Most road accidents happen in the evening peak. The RAC Foundation has also analysed these statistics and found that car users are at most risk of being killed and injured between 4 and 6 pm than at any other time during the week; and that more are killed or injured in the early evening on Fridays than at any other time of the week.
Not only will smarter working and smarter commuting help reduce accidents on the road, it will have a knock-on effect of decreasing traffic congestion and public transport overcrowding by stopping the rush hour, reducing peak demand.
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