Annual road deaths in the UK could be cut by 4.5% by scrapping the October clock change, according to a road safety charity.

IAM RoadSmart says moving to a permanent daylight-saving system would drastically improve road safety, while the economy would be £160m better off each year.

It points to November and December 2019, which saw pedestrian and cyclist deaths rise to 7,131 from 6,787 in the two months before the clock change.

Meanwhile, the charity says well-established data shows casualty rates rise between 3pm and 7pm as the days shorten.

Neil Greig, policy and research director at IAM RoadSmart, said: “Every year there are unnecessary victims of road collisions throughout the winter months during commutes to work or school which could easily be avoided if the Government scrapped the process of changing the clocks.

“Young pedestrians under 15 are already a huge ‘at risk’ group for road safety, and that risk becomes even greater as the nights draw in.

“Stopping the change of clocks would be easy to implement and, without question, would save lives – there are no good road safety reasons why this isn’t happening. The UK should at least set up a two-year trial to prove the benefits once and for all.”

IAM RoadSmart points to a three-year experiment by the UK government that started in 1968. The clocks were not put back between March and October, with data collected at peak times showing 2,500 fewer people were killed or injured during these winters. This was a reduction of nearly 12%.