Researchers from the circadian and sleep epidemiology lab at the University of Colorado Boulder found that the spring forward into daylight saving time has been causing a yearly increase of 6% in fatal car crashes. This increase is typically seen in the first week of DST, but Wyoming residents should know that the “mini jet lag” that they experience after DST can linger for upwards of two weeks.
Studies in the past have shown an increase in other adverse events in the first week of spring DST: for example, stroke, heart attacks and workplace injuries. This study focuses on something with a wider impact since drowsy driving is already a widespread issue. The 6% increase translates to about 28 fatal crashes every year that could have been avoided if there were no DST.
Researchers also point out that the westernmost portions of a time zone experience an increase of 8%, the reason having to do with how residents in these areas get less sleep. Even after DST was switched from April to March in 2007, there was an increase in the first week, showing that the link is not arbitrary.
Drowsy driving is preventable. To adjust to DST, a person can take naps throughout the week. Going to bed early on the days leading up to DST may be beneficial, too.
When an auto accident occurs through the negligent actions of another, victims may have grounds for a claim. Only when they are more than 50% to blame for a crash can they be barred from recovery. Still, it might be hard to negotiate for a reasonable settlement on one’s own, which is why legal representation may come in handy. A lawyer may even take the case to court if the other side’s auto insurance company refuses to pay out.