AA adamant street lights save lives despite contradictory data

Updated: 
empty freeway at night
shutterstock

New research has revealed that turning off street lights at night does not necessarily lead to more crime or crashes.

Some councils have been turning off their lights at night to save money with figures showing that around a third of lights are currently being switched off at certain times, causing concern among motoring and pedestrian groups.

The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine which led the study in partnership with University College London, looked at data from 2010 to 2013 to analyse how many crimes took place in different areas and what sort of street lighting was used there.

Their main focus was on crimes that are more likely to happen at night, such as burglary, vehicle theft, violence and sexual assault. Overall, there was no evidence of any connection between reduced street light and increased crime, reports the Press Association.

Lead investigator, Dr Phil Edwards, said: "An estimated £300 million is spent every year on street lights in the UK.

"At a time when local authorities need to make spending cuts, our findings show that by carefully assessing risks, street lighting can be reduced without an increase in car crashes and crime."

AA President Edmund King, however, has challenged the findings, remaining adamant that street lights should remain on and play a part in saving lives.

He said: "Our own analysis of inquest findings uncovered six road deaths from 2009 to 2013 where coroners said the switching off of street lights had been a contributory factor," he said.

"Police crash investigators said the drivers had little or no chance of avoiding the collisions.

"At the same time, Department for Transport statistics show that significant reductions in night-time accidents along roads with lighting have been stunted on unlit town and city streets."

Author: Harry Boucher