LANSING, Mich. (WLUC) - The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) reminds motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians that the return to standard time, which takes effect on Sunday, Nov. 5, means it will get dark one hour earlier.
It is important to watch out for pedestrians and bicyclists on the drive home, as they will be much less noticeable after the time change goes into effect. Research from the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute confirms that pedestrians are more at risk of serious injury from a motor vehicle crash in the weeks following a return to standard time. The most dangerous time is the first hour of darkness.
"Driving through school zones becomes more challenging for motorists during the first week of the time change," said State Transportation Director Kirk T. Steudle. "Pedestrians 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."
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 5,987 pedestrians died in traffic crashes in 2016 and an estimated 70,000 were injured in 2015 (8,000 of these injuries happened to children 14 and younger). The majority of pedestrian fatalities (70 percent) occur during dark conditions between 6 p.m. and 5:59 a.m. in 2015.
MDOT is working with partners statewide on the Toward Zero Deaths safety campaign based on the National Strategy on Highway Safety, which is intended to influence driver behavior and improve safety. For more information on the Toward Zero Deaths campaign, visit MDOT's website at www.michigan.gov/zerodeaths.