With winter seemingly behind us, more sunshine, and warmer weather, it’s not uncommon on sunny days to see another driver sitting at a stoplight, sunglasses on, window down, arm lazily perched on the window of their vehicle, enjoying the nice weather. Maybe you can even picture yourself doing this. But what happens when you are at a stoplight enjoying the spring sunshine, and are suddenly rear-ended by another driver? Does “springing forward” with Daylight Saving Time contribute to more car wrecks?
According to a January 2020 study conducted by researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder, the risk of having a fatal car wreck during the week following the “spring forward” to Daylight Saving Time increases by 6%, which amounts to an additional 28 car wreck related fatalities per year.
The researchers analyzed 732,835 accidents recorded through the U.S. Fatality Analysis Reporting System from 1996 to 2017. They excluded Arizona and Indiana, where Daylight Saving Time was not consistently observed. With the forward time shift, many people miss out on an additional hour of much-needed sleep, and have to drive in the early morning hours to work in darkness, both of which contribute to motor vehicle wrecks. Over the course of 22 years of data analyzed, the authors estimated around 627 people died in fatal car wrecks associated with Daylight Saving Time. And while these numbers seem shocking, they do not capture the full picture because the study only included fatal wrecks. The authors believe that the actual risk to drivers following the switch to Daylight Saving Time is much higher because their study did not take into consideration less serious injuries or incidents.
Daylight Saving Time begins on Sunday, March 14, and it seems turning the clocks forward increases the risk of being involved in a serious auto wreck. If you or a loved one were injured in a car crash, it is important that you speak with a competent attorney to help you navigate the post-wreck process of dealing with insurance companies, filing suit if necessary, and helping you obtain compensation for your injuries and losses. At Adams Legal Group, PLLC, we have extensive experience handling auto wreck cases and would be happy to speak with you about your claim – please call us today at (304) 381-2166 for a free consultation.
- Fritz, Joseph, et al., “A Chronobiological Evaluation of the Acute Effects of Daylight Saving Time on Traffic Accident Risk.” Current Biology.Vol. 30, Issue 4., P729-735.E2, January 30, 2020. https://www.cell.com/current-biology/fulltext/S0960-9822(19)31678-1
- University of Colorado at Boulder. “’Spring forward’ to daylight saving time brings surge in fatal car crashes: Deadly accidents spike 6% in week after time change.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 January 2020. https://www.cell.com/current-biology/fulltext/S0960-9822(19)31678-1
- Preidt, Robert. HealthDay. “Spring Time Change Tied to More Fatal Car Crashes.” WebMD, WebMD, 30 Jan. 2020, http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/news/20200130/spring-time-change-tied-to-more-fatal-car-crashes.
- Bakalar, Nicholas. “Fatal Car Crashes Rise With Spring Clock.” The New York Times. March 2, 2020. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/02/well/live/fatal-car-crashes-rise-with-spring-clock-reset.html