Daylight Saving Time Causes Increased Risk of Car Accidents
A recent study analyzing 21 years of data related to deadly car accidents has found that the observation of daylight saving time results in a consistent increase in crashes in the days following the time shift each year. The data compiled by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration showed that the number of fatal crashes increased to 83.5 deaths on the Monday following the time change, compared to a typical Monday in which the average number of deaths numbered 78.2.
The study, jointly produced by Johns Hopkins University and Stanford University, concluded that the deadly accidents are likely the result of sleep deprivation. The study did not see an increase in traffic fatalities on the annual Sunday on which daylight saving time goes into effect, presumably because most drivers have the ability to sleep in. At the start of the traditional workweek, however, drivers may not have fully adjusted to the one-hour difference, leaving them with a jet-lagged feeling when they get behind the wheel Monday morning.
Blame Chronic Sleep Deprivation
A neurologist and lead author of the study was surprised to see that the yearly crash figures supported the theory that one hour of missed sleep could make such a difference. The researchers make the case that the one-hour loss of sleep may merely be the tipping point that exacerbates the already prevalent condition of chronic sleep deprivation throughout American society. Poor sleep is widespread, and the time shift creates an added stressor.
This theory that daylight saving time creates stress on the body is supported by observations that the “spring forward” time change is accompanied by an uptick in medical events, such as heart attacks. Likewise, workplace injuries are more common in the days after daylight saving time takes effect. While daylight saving time seems to cause about 30 of the 30,000 traffic deaths each year, it may seem as if the problem is overstated. Still, any effort to curb driving risks is worth considering.
Likewise, the inherent health risks of pervasive sleep deprivation should be recognized as well. Scientists believe the negative health effects of poor sleep may factor into the risk for obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Researchers suggest keeping good sleep habits to ward off many negative effects. Regarding overall health and sleep-related risks of traffic accidents specifically, it is recommended that people get adequate rest in the time leading up to the time shift to build up the body’s resilience to the inevitable shift in circadian rhythm.
Collingswood Car Accident Lawyers at Williams Cedar Represent Those Injured in Motor Vehicle Crashes
If you were injured or lost a loved one in a car accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your accident. The Collingswood car accident lawyers at Williams Cedar can help you obtain damages from those responsible for your loss. Possible compensation may include coverage for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. For a free consultation, contact us online or call us at 856-470-9777. Located in Philadelphia and Haddonfield, New Jersey, we represent clients throughout Pennsylvania, South Jersey, and nationwide.