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Police launch pedestrian safety blitz after time change

Police are conducting a pedestrian safety blitz for the first Monday after the time change. The effort also follows a terrible string of pedestrian deaths last Thursday when 10 people were hit, two of them fatally.

The weeklong blitz, dubbed Step Up and Be Safe, kicks off around 6 a.m. at Danforth and Broadview avenues where officers will be ensuring pedestrians are obeying the rules of the road.

“We’re really trying to get the message across: you have to respect the rules of the road. There are a lot of people getting injured. We want to reduce that,” Sgt. Gary Olson said, noting officers will be handing out tickets and not just warning offenders.

Studies suggest the number of accidents increases after a time change.

“When sunlight goes down and when the absence of sunlight occurs, we have a bunch of chemical changes that make us ready for sleep. So those changes are really important for sleep. They’re also important for alertness and eating,” Colleen Carney, director of the sleep and depression lab at Ryerson University.

Authorities have also been stressing the importance of setting aside distractions such as electronic devices, while crossing the street. In May, police launched the Head’s Up safety campaign highlighting the dangers of smartphones and other devices for pedestrians.

Pedestrian fatalities represent about half of yearly traffic deaths in Toronto, police say, and 19 pedestrians have been killed so far this year.