Spring forward to DST linked to rise in fatal accidents

by | Apr 15, 2020 | personal injury

Springing forward to daylight saving time can leave many Louisiana residents with a feeling of jet lag. This can last for anywhere up to two weeks after the switch. It makes sense, tragic though it is, that the switch can contribute to an increase in car crashes as a result. One study from the University of Colorado Boulder says that there is a 6% increase in fatal crashes every year nationwide during the first week of DST.

This comes to an annual 28 fatal crashes that, researchers believe, could have been prevented if states remained in standard time. For their study, researchers looked at crash data spanning the years 1996 to 2017. Ever year, they saw a consistent rise in fatal crashes after the start of DST. This held true even when DST was pushed forward from April to March in 2007 under the Energy Policy Act.

Another interesting finding was that residents in the westernmost parts of a time zone saw an 8% increase in fatal crashes. The reason for this is that the sun rises and sets later in these areas and that residents get less sleep (about 19 fewer minutes) than residents elsewhere. Crashes are not all that DST leads to. Previous studies have linked the sleep deprivation caused by DST to heart attacks and workplace injuries.

Those who incur a personal injury at the hands of a drowsy driver should know that they may be able to file a claim. Drowsy driving is negligent behavior, but victims themselves may have to share some of the fault under Louisiana’s comparative fault rule. To see how strong a case they have and how much they might be eligible for, victims may consult an attorney. An attorney may speak on victims’ behalf at the negotiation table.