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Posted in Car Accidents on April 24, 2022
Is it Daylight Savings or Daylight Saving Time? No matter what you call it, everyone dreads Daylight Saving Time (DST) in the spring, when time suddenly, not happily, “springs forward” an hour.
While fewer than half of all countries worldwide participate in the annual “time-saving” tradition, Americans not only continue to lose an hour each spring but also lose lives on the road.
According to the U.S. Fatality Analysis Reporting System, which researched 20 years of car accidents from 1996 to 2017, there was a consistent rise in fatal car crashes during the week after DST to an average 6 percent increase and 28 deaths each year. On the other side of that, accidents decreased after that week, and there was no impact on accident rates in the fall’s DST.
This annual time change ritual may not be as harmless after all.
Interestingly, there was a spike in car accidents in 2007, when the Energy Policy Act changed the country’s DST from April to March, which proves the link between car accidents and DST.
Research from a recent study shows that the one-hour time loss each spring causes Americans to experience a sort of jetlag that is more intense in the first few days after spring Daylight Saving Time, with symptoms lasting up to two weeks. Statistics also confirm that, on the night of DST, motorists will lose an extra 40 minutes of sleep on top of the one-hour change.
The interrupted sleep schedule takes a toll on our bodies behind the wheel, causing us to make unsafe choices while driving. Factors that lead to car accidents include:
Further research showed that the further west a driver lives, the greater the risk of being involved in a car crash – an 8 percent increase in fatal crashes – because of their time zone where the sun rises and sets later.
Not only does DST affect the body, leading to more car accidents, it also causes more injuries at work, more strokes, and a reported 24 percent increase in heart attack visits to hospitals across the United States; again, this trend is the opposite the day after we turn back our clocks in the fall.
Each spring in the United States, moving clocks forward an hour for Daylight Saving Time prepares all for the summer by providing more light in the evenings and less light in the mornings.
There are a few explanations on the origins of DST. The concept that it was implemented to benefit farmers and their schedules is a myth; in fact, farmers have been lobbying against DST since it first started. Through the Standard Time Act, DST was established in Germany as a wartime strategy during World War I to add more daylight hours to conserve energy resources and again during World War II. Research shows, however, that DST really does not save energy after all, but it is known to reduce crime because of the extra light in the evening.
Hawaii and Arizona do not follow the biannual DST, and 13 more states are proposing to follow suit through the Sunshine Protection Act, legislation that will make daylight saving time the permanent time. It could become a new guideline across the United States, as the Senate passed the act on March 15, 2022, and, if signed by President Joe Biden, would begin to be observed in November 2023.
There are ways, according to health experts, to ease into the DST time shift a few days before by prioritizing your sleep schedule to reduce fatigue before drivers get behind the wheel, which could include:
These tips, spread throughout the course of a few days rather than the night before DST, could help drivers adjust a little easier after the time change. If still feeling groggy, drivers should schedule naps if possible during the day (but not behind the wheel).
Although the cons outweigh the pros to Daylight Saving Time, according to studies, there are a few benefits to consider because of adding one more hour of natural daylight to our afternoons, including:
The first priority, of course, is to seek medical attention. The next steps include collecting basic evidence at the scene, which could come into play during any potential legal case, such as:
Although the insurance company is responsible for covering any financial losses, drivers are often unfairly compensated for these losses, as well as any physical injuries or emotional damages after a car accident. A personal injury attorney can be an added layer of defense to ensure the proper compensation is received.
We know the challenges drivers face after a car accident. Here at the Law Office of John W. Redmann, we are recognized leaders in personal injury law and have been helping clients throughout Southeast Louisiana get the compensation they deserve since 1990. Contact us today so that we can get started.