Spring ahead to safer streets?

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It may be cold comfort to the many Canadians suffering through a Daylight Saving Time-induced sleep loss, but there’s some relatively good news: you’re less likely to get hit by a car.

Opinions actually vary, but Toronto police are sounding optimistic, at least.

According to the Toronto Star, police statistics showed a 30-per-cent drop from the average number of vehicle-pedestrian collisions in the week after DST began last year.

For all the talk about the various unexpected effects of DST, this phenomenon has a simple explanation: more daylight means better visibility, so fewer people are hit.

This pedestrian paradise continues until around September when the daylight starts disappearing and walking becomes more dangerous. According to one U.S. study, you’re three times more likely to be struck after the autumn time-change.

On the other side of that coin, some claim the time change actually makes things more dangerous. Since few people actually adjust by going to bed earlier, most people are just more tired and less alert. That can result in more careless driving and even “micro-sleeps” — nodding off for a few seconds behind the wheel — with dangerous consequences.

So don’t get too cocky just because the visibility is better, pedestrians; a dozing driver can’t see you with their eyes closed.

And if you’re one of those less-attentive drivers, some provinces could be making it easier for you to fight your traffic tickets. Ontario is joining Alberta and British Columbia in possibly creating a system to challenge traffic tickets online. It’ll spare drivers the inconvenience of going to the courthouse and it saves the time and expense of needing a judge, the ticketing officer, the prosecutor, and the court space.

There’s no timeline for this online system as yet, but keep your fingers crossed since it’ll make life far easier. Or just don’t break the law, since that’s even easier.

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