Mar 9

Does Daylight Saving Time Increase the Number of Fatal Car Accidents?

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daylight saving timeWas it hard to get up this morning because of daylight saving time? Not only will be it be harder to get your day going for the next few days, it is always more dangerous to drive on the roads. Healthline.com cites a new study published in the journal Current Biology which states that fatal car accidents spike by nearly 6 percent in the week after Daylight Saving Time which amounts to about 28 additional deaths in car accidents each year.

According to the article, the researchers looked at 732,835 car accidents recorded through the U.S. Fatality Analysis Reporting System that took place between 1996 and 2017 and discovered a consistent rise in fatal car crashes during the week we “spring forward.”

“Our findings are in line with more general research showing that the ‘mini jetlag’ caused by the 1-hour loss due to DST is most severe in the first days after transition, and can be observed up to 2 weeks,” study co-author Josef Fritz, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow with the circadian and sleep epidemiology lab at University of Colorado, Boulder.

Although the authors only looked at the most severe car accidents, they suspect the risk of non-fatal car crashes around Daylight Saving Time may be even greater.

The reason for the uptick in fatal car accidents after Daylight Savings Time may be due to drowsy driving. “Both drowsy driving and drunk driving negatively impact how well you can make fast decisions, lead to delayed reaction times, and make it hard to pay attention to the road and properly assess potential hazards,” Fritz said.

So, during the next few days, pay particular attention to your driving, especially if you feel drowsy. Also, watch out for those who don’t!

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