Dawn of a new era in road accidents

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The Independent Online
How is this new daylight arrangement going to work?

Well, for a start, evening road accidents will be transferred to the morning.

You mean, the accidents which would normally take place in the grim, grey evenings will now take place in the grim, grey mornings?

Yes.

Will there be a good reason for this?

Yes. When an accident takes place in the evening, it is difficult to get it dealt with, as most mechanics are knocking off for the evening and those that are available tend to charge overtime and double time. Then again, repair jobs that are done in the evening by bad or artificial light, by mechanics who are tired after a full day's work, tend to be shoddy and to lead to more accidents later on.

But if we transfer all these accidents to the morning period, that means you have the whole day in which to get them sorted out, by mechanics who are working at peak efficiency.

What does the phrase "peak efficiency" mean when applied to garage mechanics?

Very little. At best, it means that less than 50 per cent of their attention is devoted to Radio 1.

How will these new lighter evenings affect the British class system?

It may radically change the time of middle-class dinner parties. At the moment, when two middle-class units are asking each other out to dinner, one always asks the other what time they should arrive, and the other always says, "Oh, I don't know, about, let me see, eight?" and the first one says, "Eight o'clock, fine, see you then, then". However, middle-class couples never arrive at eight. They always arrive late.

Why is that?

Because they are waiting for the babysitter to arrive before leaving and because they do not start changing until The Archers has finished at 7.20 and because they have to have time to fit in a fierce argument about whose turn it is to lay off the wine and drive home.

But with these new lighter evenings, it may well happen that the middle classes will start saying to each other, "See you about nineish for dinner, then?"

How will this affect life in general?

Very badly. If dinners start an hour later, they will also finish an hour later, and couples will be more tired on the way home. Therefore they will tend to crash more often on the way home, especially if they cannot remember which one of them is meant to be driving. Mechanics will not be available to come to their aid, as they are getting an early night's sleep to deal with the new rash of early-morning accidents.

In addition, babysitters will tend to fall asleep more at home, thus leading to a new peak in domestic accidents.

Will the new daylight arrangements satisfy farmers in the north of Scotland?

Nothing ever satisfies farmers in the north of Scotland. That is why they are automatically excluded from all statistical tables.

How will they affect garage mechanics in the north of Scotland?

Very badly. The local farmers, furious at being yet again ignored and mistreated by the English parliament, will drive even more carelessly and recklessly and this will lead to a rise in road accidents at all times, which will put an increasing load on local garage mechanics. They will need counselling, maybe even psychiatric help, which will place an extra burden on the local NHS, causing medical staff to drive with even more urgency, leading to more accidents which places a further onus on the mechanics....

Yes, yes, I get the picture. But is there any section of society that will not be affected by these changes to our daylight arrangements?

Yes. It will not affect those people who arrive for work in the evening when it's already dark and work late into the night, making their biggest decisions when they are flat out on their feet and too knackered to think straight.

Good heavens. Who are these people?

They are called MPs.

Are these the very ones who are coming to a decision on our daylight arrangements?

Yes.

Oh, dear.

Precisely.

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