Every year in California and across the U.S., there is a rise in fatal car crashes during the first week of spring daylight saving time. This was the conclusion of a study published in Current Biology in March 2020. Researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder analyzed crash data from 1996 to 2017 and were able to measure the increase. It came to 6%, or 28 fatal crashes annually that, researchers argue, could have been prevented if there were no DST.
The study goes on to point out how residents in the westernmost regions of a time zone, such as the people of St. George, Utah, or Amarillo, Texas, actually experience an 8% increase in fatal auto accidents. The reason is that these residents already sleep less than those living farther east in a time zone. The loss of one hour of sleep tends to have a more drastic effect on them.
In 2007, DST was moved from the first Sunday of April to the second Sunday of March. The spike in car crashes shifted in exactly the same way, showing that the link between DST and the increase is not coincidental. Whether related to DST or not, drowsy driving is a serious safety concern as it causes drivers to become inattentive and slower in their reaction times.
Victims of a drowsy driving accident may pursue a personal injury claim if they themselves were not largely to blame. However, they may find it hard to prove that the other driver was drowsy, especially if he or she never admitted it to the police. To learn what can be done, victims may consult a lawyer. The lawyer might hire investigators and other third parties to strengthen the case before working to negotiate for a fair settlement out of court.