An initiative, which aims to save energy by switching off lighting on motorways, has seen the number of people killed or seriously injured on these roads almost double.
Since 2010, Highways England have turned off road lighting on sections of the M2, M5, M6, M54 and M65 between midnight and 5pm in a bid to reduce carbon emissions.
Highways England figures reveal an 88% rise in the number of casualties on “lighting unlit” sections of the motorway. These are sections where lights are either deliberately turned off to reduce energy use, or aren’t working.
Figures show that there were 175 casualties on lighting unlit roads in 2017, 83 more casualties than in 2010.
Over the same time period, overall road casualty figures have fallen. Casualties across the whole of England’s strategic road network fell by 12.4%, and deaths and injuries on the 1,433 miles of road lit during darkness fell by 18.4%.
Richard Leonard, head of road safety at Highways England, said safety was their top priority: “We light what needs to be lit, and we know where those locations are.
“We have a greater understanding of where night-time collisions occur and the impact road lighting would have.
“This means we can target lighting where it is needed, rather than putting lights everywhere.”