THE PERILS OF THE BLACK-OUT SIR,—The increase of fatal accidents
caused by the black-out during the months of September, 1939, to January of this year can be calculated, by comparison with the corresponding 1938-9 data, to amount to over 1,700. Numerous remedies have been suggested to reduce this terrible mortality, but there can be no doubt that the best remedy of all would be to cut down the evening black-out period when many people are in the streets. This can be done by advancing our clocks a further hour, so that summer time would be two hours ahead of Greenwich time instead of one hour. If this suggestion of a " super-summer time " were adopted for the six months April to September (or, rather, from Sunday, March 31st, to Saturday, September 28th), the cessation of the morning black- out would still be no later than the time we are to experience on February 25th, but the evening black-out would begin at 9.o on March 31st, and on June 22nd, the longest day, it would begin at 10.49. It is known that accidents are very numerous all through the evening hours until 11.3o, after which time they rapidly dwindle, and it is calculated that the specially fatal black-out period will now last, on an average, for about 21 hours (during April to September). If we cut out one of these hours we have to add on a black-out hour in the early morning, but then the fatalities are very few in number. We should, in consequence, save hundreds of lives and many thousands of non-fatal injuries.
The shortened evening black-out would, of course, have many other advantages in addition.—Yours faithfully,
H. M. VERNON.