With Loss of One Hour, Dst Raises Number of Fatal Crashes

Every March, residents of Minnesota may find themselves feeling drowsy after the spring forward to daylight saving time. This is natural, but it can have fatal consequences according to a study from the University of Colorado Boulder. Researchers there, analyzing over 730,000 fatal car crashes that occurred in the U.S. between 1996 and 2017, found that DST causes a spike in these crashes every year.

It is a spike of 6%, which means that for the first week of DST, about 28 more fatal car crashes arise nationwide, all of them preventable. In the westernmost areas of each time zone, the number of such accidents goes up 8%. The sun rises and sets later in these areas, and thus residents there are more likely to be sleep-deprived after the time change.

The link is not coincidental. Researchers point to how the time of the spike shifted from April to March in 2007: the year that DST was rescheduled from April to March. The results of the study correspond with those of other studies showing how in the first week of DST, there are more cases of workplace injuries and heart problems.

Some states like California, Oregon and Washington are debating if DST should be abolished. One question is whether to choose permanent standard time or permanent DST.

Drowsy driving is a serious problem, even outside of the switch to DST, and those who are injured by a drowsy driver can be left dealing with long-term injuries and medical bills. They may seek reimbursement for monetary and non-monetary damages by pursuing a personal injury case. They may want a lawyer to assist them because auto insurance companies can be aggressive in denying payment. As Minnesota is a no-fault state, there are also restrictions on who can file third-party insurance claims.

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