blog In July 2019 the UK Government announced they were considering banning new drivers from driving at night, as part of a graduated driving licence. The assumption of this proposal is that young drivers are disproportionately at greater risk when driving at night, compared with more experienced drivers. We carried out some simple analysis examining whether this assumption is true or not. Details of the analysis are available here on Jim's website.

Our analysis suggested that when different exposure levels at night between young and older drivers are accounted for, young drivers are at no greater risk after-dark than older drivers.

paper RTCs at pedestrian crossings were examined using the clock-change approach to isolate the effect of ambient light. The analysis confirmed expectation of an Increased risk of pedestrian RTC at crossings after-dark compared to daylight.

The analysis also compared RTCs at pedestrian crossings versus non-crossings. This revealed that the risk of pedestrian RTC after-dark is greater at crossings than at other locations. One explanation for this is that pedestrians are over-confident of been seen when using a crossing.

Uttley J, Fotios S. The effect of ambient light condition on road traffic collisions involving pedestrians on pedestrian crossings. Accident Analysis and Prevention 2017; 108; 189-200.

paper While statistical analyses of RTC records have shown that road lighting reduces the frequency of collisions after dark, this does not mean that lighting can be expected to prevent specific collisions. There are cases where the absence or insufficiency of lighting is unlikely to be a causal factor. It is important to recognise this because it may help prevent local authority funding being incorrectly spent. This article focuses on one specific RTC where fatigue and walking back to the vehicle were more likely to have been causal factors than the coroners’ proposal that “if there had been lights in this area .. the collision would not have occurred”.

Fotios S, Price T. Road lighting and accidents: Why lighting is not the only answer. Lighting Journal 2017; 82(5); 22-26.