Be careful on these dark mornings

Published Mar 16, 2018 at 4:00pm

Daylight saving time, like it or not, is here. And as much as people joke about it there is a serious side effect of springing forward worth shining some light on: Studies have routinely found a significant increase in fatal motor vehicle accidents, with the spike coming primarily in the first week.

Many things are at play including groggy drivers. But there are other pitfalls. Early in the morning, there are children waiting for the school bus. Last week, drivers could see them well ahead. Under daylight saving time, there isn’t as much time to avoid a child darting into the road.

Things will improve -- at a clip of about two minutes a day. So, by the end of March, sunrise will be 7 a.m.

Meanwhile, we urge folks driving and parents who have children waiting for an early bus to be extra cautious, especially for the next few weeks. And even when the sun is shining brightly for both pickup and drop-off, always play it safe around school buses.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, each year, about 17,000 children are treated in emergency departments for school bus-related injuries. About a quarter of those injuries occur when the student is getting on or off the bus. And those statistics don’t include students struck by vehicles when the bus is not around.

Also, despite the fairly stiff penalties, drivers still illegally pass school buses that are taking on or discharging passengers. Be forewarned: Unmarked law enforcement vehicles sometimes accompany buses on the lookout for offenders.

The entire nation has -- rightly -- spent the past month debating how to best protect children when they are at school. By how we all drive, and how parents supervise and educate for pickup and drop-off, let’s do our part to keep them safe while they are going to and from school.

There should be nothing controversial about that.