MDOT reminds motorists to be alert as clocks "falls back"

Contact: Michael Frezell, MDOT Office of Communications, 517-281-6519
Agency: Transportation

November 2, 2018 -- As clocks "fall back" to standard time on Sunday, Nov. 4, making it get dark one hour earlier, the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) reminds motorists to watch out for pedestrians, joggers, and bicyclists on the drive home. 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.

"Drivers need to remember when traveling through school zones after the time change that it may be more challenging to see people walking, running or bicycling, as they will be much less noticeable. Also, eliminate all distractions and focus fully on the task of driving," said State Transportation Director Mark Van Port Fleet. "To ensure visibility, pedestrians, joggers and bicyclists are encouraged to wear brighter-colored clothing with reflective material."

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 5,987 pedestrians died in traffic crashes in 2016 and one-fifth (20 percent) of children 14 and younger killed in a traffic crash were pedestrians. The majority of pedestrian fatalities (75 percent) occur during dark conditions; in fall 2016, 30 percent of fatal crashes occurred between 6 and 8:59 p.m.

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.