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Daylight Saving Time Linked to Fatal Car Accidents

Published: Feb 24, 2020 in Auto Accident, Personal Injury
Daylight savings - Spring Forward

This year, Daylight Saving Time (DST) begins on March 8 at 2 a.m. Every state but Arizona and Hawaii applies DST. It was first implemented during World War I to lessen the need for artificial lighting which was believed to have saved energy. The United States adopted the system in 1966 with the Uniform Time Act. Many question whether DST is useful, and some studies even claim that it increases fatal car accidents.


An article published in Current Biology magazine shows that there is a six percent increase in fatal accidents during the week following the time change; this amounts to 28 fatal car crashes every Spring. The statistics revealed that accidents are more likely to occur in westernmost locations and in the morning hours.

A circadian sleep scientist and her team at the University of Boulder used the federal Fatality Analysis Reporting System for the study. In 2007, the Energy Policy Act changed the original DST time from the first Sunday in April to the second Sunday of March. Before 2007, there was an increase in fatal accidents that took place after April, when DST moved to March, so did the increase in accidents.

The 28 crashes break down to 5.7 more fatal accidents every day during the week following DST. The study shows that DST impacts a significant amount of people every year and that fatal accidents can be prevented by eliminating DST.

Spring Forward and Sleep Deprivation

Losing one hour of sleep does not affect everyone, but it can be an issue for those predisposed to sleep problems. Those with sensitive human circadian rhythm, or body clocks, can take longer to adjust to DST. In addition to increased traffic accidents starting the following Monday, reports have shown an increase in workplace injuries, heart attacks, and miscarriages. For some, it can trigger depression and other mental conditions, like seasonal affective disorder.

Managing the Effects of DST

The study recommends abolishing DST. California, Florida, and Oregon are already considering eliminating DST.

There are a few tips people can follow to reduce the dangerous effects of DST. Prepare yourself by waking up early for several days before DST starts, fight off tiredness by exercising, and make certain you eat a good breakfast to start the day.

Belleville Car Accident Lawyers at The Cates Law Firm, LLC Understand Your Rights After an Auto Accident Occurs

Car crashes can happen any time during the year, so it is important to always practice safe driving. Even with extra precautions, fatigued drivers can still cause accidents. Our experienced Belleville car accident lawyers at The Cates Law Firm, LLC will fight to protect your rights and help you obtain the compensation you deserve for your injuries. Contact us online or call us at 618-277-3644 to schedule a free consultation about your case. Located in Swansea, Illinois, we also serve clients in Belleville, Carbondale, East St. Louis, Granite City, Edwardsville, Chester, Waterloo, St. Louis, Madison County, St. Clair County, Monroe County, and Randolph County.