Georgia residents may feel drowsy after losing one hour of sleep due to the “spring forward” into daylight saving time, but they will be fortunate if nothing else comes of it. A new study conducted by researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder has found that the first week after DST sees a 6% increase in fatal car crashes. This means that every year in the U.S., there are some 28 fatal crashes related to DST.
Residents who live on the western edges of their time zone actually see an increase of 8%. They sleep an average of 19 fewer minutes than those who live in the eastern portion of a time zone, and because of the later sunrises, their commutes tend to be in the dark. The annual rise in fatal crashes was consistent, even moving in 2007 when the beginning of DST was switched from April to March.
This is not the first study to show that DST causes negative effects in health and safety. DST has long been linked with a higher risk for stroke, heart attack, sleep disturbances and injuries on the job. Residents who wish to avert the side effects of DST should try getting to bed earlier in the days leading up to it as well as minimize light exposure from laptops, phones and TVs.
Those who are injured in a motor vehicle accident at the hands of a drowsy driver may want to schedule a consultation with a lawyer because they may be eligible for compensation under personal injury law. Proving that the other side was negligent and negotiating a settlement can be hard without a lawyer, and even with representation, victims may not achieve the amount they deserve. In that case, the lawyer may recommend litigation as a last resort.