The end of Daylight Saving Time means visibility changes for the morning and evening commutes, and Aberdeen Proving Ground officials are urging drivers to watch out for pedestrians, and pedestrians to stay alert for passing cars, as they travel the installation roads.
The advisory comes as drivers adjust to the time change that places the sun in their eyes during the morning commute and causes the skies to darken earlier in the evening, making it more difficult for drivers to see pedestrians, said Ralph Cardenuto, the garrison safety manager.
“This time of the year we’re always concerned with pedestrian safety because of the time changes and the low light conditions as people come to work and as they go home,” he said.
A pedestrian in his 70s was struck by a car Oct. 16 while crossing at a crosswalk on Boothby Hill Avenue near Bel Air Street between 6:30 and 7 a.m., according to Michael Slayman, assistant chief of EMS for the Directorate of Emergency Services fire department. The man was transported to the hospital for a traumatic but not significant injury, Slayman said.
He added that pedestrian-involved accidents happen rarely — about once or twice a year.
“It’s normally not an issue,” he said.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a pedestrian was killed every 1.6 hours and injured every 7.5 minutes in traffic nationwide in 2015. The 5,376 pedestrian fatalities in 2015 were a 9.5-percent increase from 4,910 the year before.
More than one in four pedestrian fatalities occurred between 6 and 8:59 p.m. in 2015.
In Maryland, there were 92 pedestrian traffic fatalities in 2015, or 1.53 pedestrian fatalities per 100,000 population, according to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report.
Pedestrians are encouraged to cross the street only at intersections and marked crosswalks and to make sure drivers stop before crossing the street. Pedestrians only have the right of way after they are in the crosswalk, Cardenuto said.
Paths for walkers, joggers and runners are available throughout the installation, such as around Fanshaw Parade Field, Shine Sports Field and Plumb Point Loop at APG North (Aberdeen) and around the airfield in APG South (Edgewood), so they can avoid potential conflicts with vehicles on the roadways.
Pedestrians are asked to avoid walking against a do not walk signal, walking or jogging with the traffic flow, or using headphones, earbuds or cellphones. The use of headphones and earbuds while walking or jogging on federal installations is prohibited.
Those who fail to obey pedestrian control signals, fail to the yield right-of-way to a vehicle or act unlawfully on a roadway can face fines between $40 and $500, according to Maryland law.
Tips for drivers include obeying posted speed limits, paying attention to crosswalks and making sure pedestrians are not crossing as you’re approaching. If someone is crossing the road, even if not at the crosswalk, drivers should yield to the pedestrian. Drivers are urged to be attentive to neighborhoods and schools where children are present and to never assume the pedestrian sees or hears you.
Drivers who fail to stop for a pedestrian in a crosswalk or pass a vehicle that has stopped for a pedestrian can face a fine between $80 and $500 and receive one point on their driving record, according to Maryland law.