Each year, the daylight saving time change ends on the last Sunday of October. As night falls at the end of the afternoon, while people travel back home, there is an increased crash risk for pedestrians.
Road mortality varies over the year
The first quarter of the year is the least deadly, accounting for 21% of the annual mortality over 2008-2017, while the third quarter is the most deadly with a rate of 28%. The number of fatalities presents significant variations according to seasonality for certain road user categories. Pedestrian mortality is highest in autumn/winter, with 43% of the annual total over the four months from October to January. The night period lasts longer and ultimately includes morning and evening peak commuting periods, while pedestrians are less visible to other road users at night.
Share of the month in the annual mortality according to several road user categories
Effect of the change to winter time
The one-hour retreat has a significant impact on lighting times (daylight duration varies from about 8 hours on the winter solstice to about 16 hours on the summer solstice). Night falls earlier in the day, during the rush hour of evening commuting, which can lead to an increased risk of accidents, especially for pedestrians.
Between 2013 and 2017, the number of pedestrian injuries in November was +11.4% higher than in October.
The study on the time slots of the day reveals an increase of +18% in the number of accidents involving pedestrians during the morning rush hour (7h-9am) and +52% during the evening rush hour (5pm-7pm). This increase is only partially offset by a 6% decrease in injury accidents in the morning between 9am and 11am and a 24% decrease in the evening between 8pm and 10pm. Assuming that evening peak hour mobility is similar between October and November, the risk of accidents increases.
Number of accidents involving a pedestrian
throughout the day and according to the month (average 2013-2017)
Pedestrian accidents in winter
On average over the last five years, the winter months are the most dangerous for pedestrians. The months of November, December and January from 2013 to 2017 represent 33% of pedestrian fatalities. Each year, an average of 164 pedestrians are killed between November and January. The month of February is integrated with the summer months due to daylight duration.
In winter, morning and evening rush hours (7am-10am and 5pm-7pm) are when pedestrians are the most accident-prone. The increase in accidents does not occur in the middle of the day. It seems that this excess of accidents is a consequence of reduced daylight, as pedestrians are difficult to perceive by other users, although they thing they are seen.
Number of pedestrian injury accidents per month
(monthly average 2013-2017)