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Fatal crashes rise in week following start of DST

| Mar 12, 2020 | Injuries, Personal Injury |

Some states, including Florida, Alabama and Washington, are debating whether or not to abolish daylight saving time. Residents of New Jersey can probably guess the reason for this. The spring switch to DST has been connected with health issues due to its disruption of everyone’s sleep schedules. These include greater instances of heart attack and stroke during the first week of DST.

A new study from the University of Colorado Boulder has focused on the link between DST and car crashes, especially fatal ones. The loss of one hour of sleep can obviously lead to drowsy driving, after all. Researchers, analyzing the car crashes between 1996 and 2017, found a consistent spike in fatal crashes in the week following the spring switch. They calculated that every year in the U.S., some 28 fatal crashes occur because of DST.

This comes to a 6% increase. Some regions of the U.S. see an 8% increase: namely, the westernmost regions in each time zone. The reason is that the sun rises and sets later in these areas and that residents tend already to get less sleep than residents in other parts of a time zone.

Driving when sleep-deprived is similar to DUI. Drivers will have their attention, ability to assess risks and reaction times impaired by drowsiness.

There can be grounds for a personal injury case when one is involved in a crash with a drowsy driver. Only seriously injured victims can pursue a third-party insurance claim, New Jersey being a no-fault state, so those who are wondering what their options are may seek legal advice. A lawyer may evaluate the case and determine how much victims might be eligible for in monetary and non-monetary damages. The lawyer may even handle the negotiating of a settlement out of court.