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24 October 2014, 06:09
People are being urged to take extra care on the roads across the North East as the number of accidents looks set to rise after the clocks go back.
Road Safety GB North East has warned there's usually an increase in the number of motorists and pedestrians hurt and killed in the two weeks following the start of the dark nights.
On average over the last nine years, the region has recorded a 5% rise in the number of road casualties in the 14 days after the clocks have been altered - with an 8% rise in serious accidents and a 14% rise in fatalities.
The most notable increases are seen between 5pm and 7pm, when drivers and pedestrians seem to be caught off guard by the sudden onset of early evening darkness.
Since 2005, during these two hours there have been a total of 45 fatal and serious injuries on the region's roads in the two weeks before the clocks go back, compared to a total of 89 in the two weeks that follow.
Similarly,during these hours there were three deaths in the two weeks prior to the clocks being altered, in comparison to ten in the two weeks afterwards.
Figures released by Road Safety GB North East showing casualty figures between 5pm and 7pm both before and after the clocks go back show Northumberland, Gateshead, Newcastle, North Tyneside, Middlesbrough and County Durham have the greatest increases.
Sunderland's casualty figures remain the same and only Stockton sees a decrease.
This table shows road casualties in the North East between 5pm and 7pm in the four weeks surrounding the clocks going back.
Local Authority Before After % Change
County Durham 83 120 45%
Northumberland 39 89 128%
Newcastle 41 80 95%
Gateshead 31 71 129%
North Tyneside 34 67 97%
Sunderland 60 60 0%
Middlesbrough 25 37 48%
Darlington 22 26 18%
Stockton-on-Tees 28 24 -14%
South Tyneside 16 21 31%
Redcar 20 21 5%
Hartlepool 15 21 40%
Total 414 637 54%
Paul Watson, Chairman of Road Safety GB North East, said it was imperative that people took more care.
"It's that time of year again when we are getting ready to alter the clocks and with that comes the sudden onset of the dark nights.
I think it takes us all a few days to get accustomed to the dark nights, especially as we leave work and head home on the region's roads.
There are a number of factors that cause the increase in accidents, but failing to look is the main contributor, along with failing to judge the path or speed of other road users.
We want to remind people to take particular care and to pay extra attention. We would love to reverse this trend that sees more people seriously hurt and killed during this key fortnight."