Traffic crashes, workplace accidents increasingly common following switch to daylight saving time


By Scott Bolthouse | The Huron Hub
ScottBolthouse@HuronHub.com

Published Friday, March 6, 2020

Sunday marks the beginning of daylight saving time, or known popularly as “springing forward” an hour on the clock.

Setting clocks forward one hour for daylight saving time means losing an hour of sleep on the morning after the change.

For some, this may just be a minor annoyance, but for others, the lack of sleep can have unfortunate effects on daily driving habits, and it’s also a common time for workplace accidents to occur.

Because sunrise will occur one hour later, that means it will be darker later in the morning.

People commuting to work and school might be on the roads during the morning darkness, and the Michigan Department of Transportation wants drivers to be prepared for the change.

“Driving through school zones becomes more challenging for motorists during the first week of the time change,” said State Transportation Director Paul C. Ajegba. “Pedestrians, joggers, and bicyclists should wear brighter, reflective clothing in order to be seen more easily, and those behind the wheel need to pay close attention and eliminate distractions while driving.”

Motorists are reminded that bicyclists are permitted to ride on most roadways in Michigan.

Bicyclists are reminded that, as legal roadway users, they are required to obey all traffic laws, signs, and signals.

A person operating a bicycle on a highway or street at less than the speed of traffic is required to ride as close as possible to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway, MDOT said.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were 6,283 pedestrian deaths and 857 bicyclist deaths resulting from traffic crashes in 2018.

What’s concerning to officials is that these incidents were 3.4 percent and 6.3 percent increases from the previous year.

“NHTSA’s data showed that most of the pedestrian fatalities (76 percent) and bicyclist fatalities (50 percent) occurred during dark conditions between 6 p.m. and 8:59 p.m.,” a statement from MDOT said.

MDOT said that In Michigan, there were 145 pedestrian fatalities and 21 bicyclist fatalities in traffic crashes, with 78 percent pedestrian fatalities and 57 percent bicyclist fatalities involved in traffic crashes that occurred during dark conditions.

In the workplace, accidents are common on the day after the time change.

According to a study by the American Psychological Association, workers sustain more workplace injuries, including injuries of greater severity, on Mondays directly following the switch to daylight saving time.

The same study noted that on Mondays directly following the switch to standard time—in which one hour is gained—there are no significant differences in sleep, injury quantity, or injury severity.


 

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