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How Daylight Savings Time Increases Car Accident Risks


At 2:00 a.m. on Saturday, March 10, 2019 daylight savings time went into effect. As a result, you may have lost an hour of sleep. While this does not sound like much, studies show that it can have serious impacts on people and may prove deadly for drivers, due to an increase in car accidents at this time of year. In response to the dangers, Florida lawmakers have introduced legislation that could make this year the last time residents would have to ‘spring forward’, eliminating time changes in the years to come.

Daylight Savings Time Dangers

According to a March 6, 2019 Business Insider report, studies have shown that making the switch to daylight savings time poses serious health risks for some people. In addition to increases in serious health conditions such as heart attacks and strokes, that one hour of sleep you were shorted when you set your clocks forward increases the likelihood of being in a potentially fatal car crash.

While one hour of sleep may not seem like a lot, it is enough to impact both your physical and mental health, along with your cognitive functioning. As a result of the disruption to your sleep habits and the changes in your schedule due to increased daylight hours in the evening, you may feel sleepy and sluggish for weeks after the time change occurs. Add to this the likelihood of driving in the dark during morning rush hour and it is easy to see how dangerous this can be behind the wheel. Common effects of being tired which can impact your driving abilities include:

  • Vision impairments, such as blurred vision and watering eyes;
  • Slower reaction times, causing dangerous delays when dealing with sudden changes in traffic conditions;
  • Impaired judgement, making you more likely to commit errors which could increase the odds of a crash; and
  • Drifting off and falling asleep behind the wheel.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) warns that drowsy driving is one of the leading causes of car accidents in the United States, leaving more than 40,000 people with serious injuries and proving fatal for roughly 800 others each year.

Florida Introduces Legislation for Year Round Daylight Savings Time

As the result of the potentially dangerous impacts related to the practice of changing the clocks, there is a movement to essentially make daylight savings time last all year. On March 6, 2019 Florida Senators Marco Rubio and Rick Scott, along with U.S. Representative Vern Buchanan, introduced the Sunshine Protection Act, which would eliminate the need to ‘fall back’ in the winter. In addition to protecting drivers, studies show increased daylight is helpful for agriculture, reduces energy consumption, and causes a drop in the crime rate. Florida will be voting on the proposed legislation later this year.

Reach Out to Us Today for Help

When you or someone you care about is involved in a crash, the Law Office of Steven G. Lavely is here to help. Call or contact our Bradenton car accident attorney and request a consultation today.