A Carnegie Mellon study shows that pedestrian deaths increase almost 200% when daylight saving time ends.
It’s not the darkness itself, but the adjustment to earlier nighttime that’s the killer, said professors Paul Fischbeck and David Gerard, both of Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.
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Fischbeck and Gerard conducted a preliminary study of seven years of federal traffic fatalities and calculated risk per mile walked for pedestrians. They found that per-mile risk jumps 186 percent from October to November, but then drops 21 percent in December.
They said the drop-off by December indicates the risk is caused by the trouble both drivers and pedestrians have adjusting when darkness suddenly comes an hour earlier.
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The reverse happens in the morning when clocks are set back and daylight comes earlier. Pedestrian risk plummets, but there are fewer walkers then, too. The 13 lives saved at 6 a.m. don’t offset the 37 lost at 6 p.m., the researchers found.