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Sharon Basaraba

Pedestrian Deaths Jump After Time Change

By November 5, 2012

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Clock time change

Judging by research from Carnegie Mellon University, walkers should be more careful today, thanks to the clocks being turned back over the weekend. A 2007 study of U.S. traffic statistics compiled between 1999 and 2005 reveals that there are, on average, 37 more pedestrians deaths around dinner time in the month of November compared with October.

Professors Paul Fischbeck and David Gerard attribute the rise in fatalities to the fact that drivers accustomed to daylight require time to adjust to increasing darkness while on the road.

"We see the opposite effect in the spring, when the clock is turned ahead," Fischbeck told me in an interview. "It's the morning traffic rush that's affected, though not as much." Pedestrian fatalities do not rise by the same degree in March -- when Daylight Saving Time begins -- as they appear to do in November, according to the team's research.

The database does not show a jump in vehicle collisions, as previous research has indicated.

Sources:

Sood, Neeraj and Ghosh, Arkadipta.  "The Short and Long Run Effects of Daylight Saving Time on Fatal Automobile Crashes."The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy. Volume 7, Issue 1.   DOI: 10.2202/1935-1682.1618, February 2007

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