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Extra traffic enforcement on tap as Daylight Saving Time ends

Traffic on I-395 looking south as the sun sets (Staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Get ready for it to get darker even earlier.

Daylight Saving Time ends early Sunday morning, and along with the clocks being turned back by an hour will come 5 p.m. sunsets and extra traffic enforcement in the D.C. area.

Authorities say November is a crucial time for safety on local roads, particularly due to less daylight during the morning and evening rush hours, and they’re stepping up enforcement to try to counter that.

“Area residents can expect increased enforcement of traffic safety laws that protect people walking and biking in the metropolitan Washington region,” said the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, in announcing its fall Street Smart campaign earlier this week. “Police departments across the region will be ticketing drivers who fail to obey the speed limit or don’t stop for pedestrians in crosswalks.”

Arlington County police said the added enforcement will run from today through the end of the month, with two “high-visibility” enforcement events in between, in Lyon Park and Ballston.

From an ACPD press release:

The arrival of fall brings cooler temperatures and less daylight during commuting hours. Everyone wants you to arrive at your destination safely, that’s why the Arlington County Police Department, and law enforcement agencies throughout the region, will participate in the Metropolitan Washington Council of Government’s Fall Street Smart campaign from November 5 – November 30. The Street Smart campaign aims to identify and change unsafe behavior patterns amongst motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists, with the goal of reducing the number of traffic related collisions and injuries on our roadways.

Street Smart Enforcement Activations

As part of the Street Smart campaign, officers will conduct high-visibility traffic enforcement at the following locations:

  • Tuesday, November 9, 2021 from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. – 2500 block of Washington Boulevard
  • Wednesday, November 17, 2021 from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. – 4200 block of Fairfax Drive […]

Transportation Safety Tips

Whether you travel by foot, two wheels or four wheels, make our roadways safer by being a PAL – predictable, alert and lawful.

Drivers are reminded to:

  • Slow down and obey the posted speed limit.
  • Stop for pedestrians at crosswalks.
  • Use caution when passing buses or stopped vehicles.
  • Yield to people walking or biking when turning.
  • Allow for at least 3 feet when passing bicyclists.
  • Avoid using your cell phone and never text while driving. Holding a hand-held communication device while driving is illegal in Virginia.

Pedestrians are reminded to:

  • Cross the street at the corner and use marked crosswalks when they are available.
  • Look both ways before crossing the street.
  • See and be seen! Wear light colored or reflective clothing after dark.
  • Watch for blind spots around trucks and buses.
  • Avoid using devices that distract you, such as cell phones, while you’re crossing the street.

Shared Mobility Device operators and bicyclists are reminded to:

  • Ride in the same direction as traffic, using bike lanes when possible.
  • Use hand signals to communicate your intentions with drivers.
  • Wear a helmet, which is required for all bicycle riders 14 years of age and younger and recommended for all other riders.
  • Keep your eyes on the road and avoid the use of devices that may distract you.
  • Stay visible after dark and in bad weather with light colored and reflective clothing. Use lights at night when visibility is poor.

The Street Smart campaign includes a public education component, featuring videos of crash survivors and the families of those killed on local roads. Among them is Arlington resident Helen Harris, who lost her leg after being struck by a dump truck in Rosslyn in December 2018.

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