Street Smart Campaign Urges Increased Attention on Roadways As Daylight Saving Time Ends
Friday, November 7, 2014
Local Officials Look to Reduce Crashes Involving Pedestrians During Darker Months
(Washington, DC) – Clocks fell back an hour for the end of daylight saving time on November 2, ushering in shorter days and increased safety concerns on DC-area roadways. With darkness falling an hour earlier, regional safety officials urge drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclists to share the road and pay extra attention to one another.
Last year, 65 pedestrians and seven bicyclists died in crashes in the Washington metro region. November and December are of particular concern to safety advocates, since they are the darkest months of the year and, as a result, often see an increase in crashes involving pedestrians and cyclists. Nighttime hours are especially dangerous for pedestrians. In 2012, 70 percent of pedestrian fatalities in the U.S. occurred between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. To reduce pedestrian and cyclist injuries and fatalities, DC-area transportation officials launched the semi-annual Street Smart public education campaign today, encouraging area residents to be more alert.
Representatives from the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia, kicked off the fall campaign today at Sherman Avenue and Euclid Street in Washington, DC.
“Walking and bicycling are becoming more popular throughout the Washington region, and it can be harder for drivers to see people on foot and on bikes when it becomes darker much earlier,” said Matt Brown, Director of the District Department of Transportation. “We all have to be aware of our surroundings and look out for each other as we travel through the area to make sure everyone arrives safely at their destinations. Drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians need to follow traffic laws, be attentive, and take extra care when visibility is low.”
The Street Smart campaign urges all commuters to avoid distractions such as cell phones, reminds drivers to slow down and yield to those on foot or on bicycles at intersections, and encourages pedestrians and bicyclists to wear light colors or something reflective to be more visible.
Law enforcement in the region will conduct increased enforcement through the month of November, ticketing drivers, cyclists and pedestrians who violate traffic safety laws. Fines for safey violations range from $40 to $500 for infractions such as failing to stop for pedestrians in crosswalks and jaywalking. In addition, drivers are subject to getting points on their driver records.