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The switch back to Standard Time isn’t just annoying. It’s deadly to pedestrians.

A band marches in a parade through Columbus downtown Historic District.
A band marches in a parade through Columbus downtown Historic District.

In the darkness of everybody’s life, it’s Monday Mail.

The horror

Today’s opening is from the song “Over at the Frankenstein Place” from “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” to mark this gap between Halloween and Election Day.

Dark days

Saying “dark days lie ahead” sounds like politics or government, which used to be two different things, but here it means Sunday’s return to Standard Time.

The time change has so long and confusing a history that you might as well write Congress and say, “We don’t remember why you started changing the time back and forth either, but it doesn’t matter now, so why not knock it off?”

Apparently it saved fuel, during world wars, but the coal industry is never going to make a comeback if we don’t start burning some energy.

If you think the time change is annoying, inconvenient and depressing, then you are overlooking the risk of death. So here’s a reminder from a public relations firm representing the Georgia Department of Transportation:

Hi,

While many Georgians may rejoice about an extra hour of sleep … as daylight savings time ends, the Georgia Department of Transportation is advising motorists about the serious impacts of less sunlight.

With the shift from daylight savings time, pedestrians out walking during the evening rush hour are nearly three times more likely to be struck by a car and die….

In 2017, 260 people were killed while walking in Georgia – that’s 11 percent more than in 2016 and a 54 percent increase from 2014.

82 percent of pedestrian fatalities in Georgia occur after dark.

90 percent of fatalities happen outside a crosswalk.

33 percent of fatalities are attributed to motorists not yielding to pedestrians.

33 percent of fatalities attributed to pedestrians.

U.S. pedestrian deaths totaled nearly 6,000 in 2017.

Many of these pedestrian fatalities are preventable. The department urges motorists and pedestrians to use caution when driving and walking.

Do not walk or drive distracted – avoid using mobile devices (Georgia is now a hands-free state for motorists).

Drivers watch for pedestrians – reduce speeds at crosswalks and highly populated areas.

Walkers cross where you can be seen – carry a flashlight or wear reflective gear at night.

Pedestrian safety is a SHARED responsibility as motorists and walkers must look out for one another. The Georgia DOT’s SEE & BE SEEN pedestrian safety campaign, in partnership with PEDS, aims to make it safe to walk in Georgia….

Thank you,

Jennifer, senior account executive.

Dear Jennifer:

Thanks for the fatalities.

You know, were I doing PR for the DOT, I would send out a news release telling slow drivers to get the hell out of the passing lane.

Trapped

Speaking of traffic hazards, here’s an email from Lois Tryon:

Tim,

Thought this might be in your area of reporting. … I braved “Christmas Made in the South” at the Trade Center, and in attempting to go home, I found I was literally trapped downtown with no realistic means of escape! I like to think I’m up on events in that area, but here I was blocked in from seemingly every direction for about 30 minutes (engine running). Flashing blue lights on 12th Street, Third Avenue, every direction! I cut through a parking lot in desperation – my usual route is Second Avenue to J.R. Allen, but I was stopped on Third by part of a parade and more flashing blue lights. I didn’t see any advance notice, and had no idea what was going on (I got an idea from the band instruments that it was indeed a parade). Finally someone on foot … told me to wait for the last car, then make my right turn, which eventually gave me access to Veterans Parkway, aka Fourth Avenue….

Dear Lois:

That’s why “Escape From Uptown” is one of the apocalyptic movies Georgia filmmakers will be shooting here.

When trapped by a parade in the drama district, motorists are expected to abandon their cars and join it singing “Everybody Hurts” like extras in an R.E.M. video.



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