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Study shows fatal crash numbers go up after switch to DST

On Behalf of | Mar 13, 2020 | Auto Accidents

Every year when we spring forward to daylight saving time in New Jersey, you may feel drowsy for several days afterward. This is to be expected, but unfortunately, the loss of one hour of sleep can have fatal consequences for some, especially on the road.

Fatal crashes go up after DST

After analyzing car crash data spanning from 1996 to 2017, researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder found that the spring switch to DST causes an annual increase of 6% in fatal auto accidents every year in the U.S. This amounts to 28 additional fatal crashes.

Not only that, but DST also affects drivers more when they reside in the westernmost parts of a time zone. Residents in cities like Amarillo, Texas, and St. George, Utah, can be especially sleep-deprived, and the fatal crash numbers increase 8% every year in their case.

Drowsy driving a serious safety hazard

Though the percentages may not seem high, one must remember that the spring switch affects billions of people, so adverse events will not be uncommon. The study, after all, only focused on fatal accidents. Other studies have linked DST with increased cases of heart attacks, stroke and work-related injuries.

Drowsiness can affect drivers much like alcohol intoxication does. It can make it harder to pay attention to the road and assess risks. It also slows down drivers’ reaction times.

Seeing a lawyer about filing a claim

You’ve incurred a personal injury in a motor vehicle accident, and now you’re wondering what can be done. New Jersey being a no-fault state, you will likely file with your own insurance company. If the injuries were severe or have led to a disability, though, you may pursue a third-party insurance claim. You might have a lawyer evaluate the case before moving forward with such a claim.