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The link between daylight saving time and car crashes

On Behalf of | Oct 4, 2021 | Car Accidents |

Every year, daylight saving time (DST) prompts Americans to turn back their clocks by one hour in the fall and set it forward one hour in the spring. This year, November 7 marks the day that we will have to adjust to a new time in our waking, sleeping and working schedules. What many people don’t realize about DST is that it corresponds to a drastic spike in car accidents.

Why do accidents increase during DST?

It’s easy to dislike the change in time because of the inconvenience and confusion it causes. However, studies have shown that it can have much more serious repercussions. For instance, DST has been connected to a higher rate of car accidents. This is due to lack of sleep.

Changing your sleep schedule harms more than just your beauty rest. It makes drivers drowsy on the roadways. Drowsy driving can prove fatal for motorists and passengers alike, which is why fatigued daylight-savings drivers caused or contributed to at least 30 additional deaths over a nine-year period.

What is the future of DST?

Some legislators are pushing to quit the daylight saving switch permanently. Earlier in 2021, a team of eight bipartisan congressmen and women introduced a bill that would end DST nationwide. They argue that this will reduce fatal car accidents, not to mention give back millions of Americans an hour of sleep. Legislators in New Jersey introduced the Sunshine Protection Act, a bill that would make DST permanent year-round in in New Jersey, in 2019, but did not receive enough votes to advance it.

For now, set back your clocks and drive carefully

No one is certain about the long-term future of daylight saving time. Whether it will exist when your children are old enough to earn their driver’s license is unsure. For now, drivers must use extra caution in the fall, when the reverse of clocks by an hour affects their sleep schedules.

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