In 2005 legislation was introduced in the UK authorising extended trading hours from 11pm until a maximum of 5am to approved licensed premises.
The deregulation of trading hours was said to be designed to create a more European-style café culture. The government hoped this would spread out peak dispersal time of patrons and result in reductions in both binge drinking and drink driving offences.
On 17 June 2013, Lancaster University Management School released a paper entitled Did Liberalising English and Welsh Bar Hours Cause Traffic Accidents? The paper investigated whether the deregulation of opening hours had achieved the intended results.
In short, the report provides evidence that the deregulation of opening hours did lead to a substantial decrease in the number of motor vehicle accidents, especially amongst young people and in the early hours of the morning on weekends.
The paper concluded that the later trading hours were associated with decreases in car accidents because of the following:
A reduction in binge drinking to “beat the clock” of earlier closing times.
A reduction in the amount of drink driving. There was less driving from venues to other venues or home parties. In other words, people became less likely to continue their evenings out where they could stay on later at their original venue of choice.
A reduction in congested roads by intoxicated drivers.
A reduction in and shift of intoxicated drivers to later at night when fewer other vehicles were on the roads.
The findings of this paper clearly contradict some of the submissions which the local Police and Department of Health present when intervening in applications for extended trading permits in Western Australia.
Potentially the UK paper may provide some welcome support in respect of ETP applications into the future.