Does Daylight Savings Time Lead to More Car Accidents?

By Greg Kohn

The inconvenience of Daylight Savings Time has become a hot topic in recent years. Now, new studies are fueling the argument to do away with the twice-annual time change not only because it’s a nuisance, but also because it may be deadly.

Daylight Savings Time has been linked to a variety of adverse effects, including an increase in fatal car accidents, a fact New Jersey car accident attorneys corroborate through case statistics. As a matter of personal and public safety, New Jersey drivers are cautioned to beware of increased driving risks during Daylight Savings Time (DST).

How Does Daylight Savings Time Lead to More Car Accidents?

Recent studies of fatal car crashes establish a direct correlation between incidents of fatal auto accidents and Daylight Savings Time.

For most of us, spring and fall time-shifts interrupt our healthy sleep and behavioral patterns. Unfortunately, daily life must go on, so we wearily climb out of bed and set out driving around town to run errands, shuttle the kids to school, or hasten to work.  

The jet-lag effect of sleep deprivation accumulates from the first few days after DST over the following weeks. What seems like a minor loss of shut-eye leads to a host of sleep-deprived drivers as dangerous to public safety as those driving while intoxicated. 

Experts agree that both drowsy and drunk driving negatively impair a driver’s ability to make quick decisions, diminish reaction times, and make it hard to focus on the roadway.

It’s no wonder that in the weeks following biannual time changes, authorities report a 6% nationwide spike in the number of deadly car wrecks. However, case reviews by medical professionals and the National Highway Transportation Safety Authority focus primarily on car crashes fatalities. It stands to reason that the percentage of overall DST related car accidents is much higher.   

Making the Case: Getting Rid of Daylight Savings Time

Initially, it was hoped that adjusting daylight hours would support energy conservation.  However, since the inception of DST during World War I, there has been little evidence to corroborate this benefit. 

Rather, there is evidence linking DST to several negative effects. In addition to vehicle-related accidents and fatalities, many other harmful physical conditions, mental health issues, and public safety risks rise at the time of Daylight Savings changes:

  • Heart attacks 
  • Strokes
  • Suicide
  • Depression
  • Workplace injuries

In light of the adverse effects corresponding to Daylight Savings Time, it appears eliminating DST would best serve public interests.

Can a New Jersey Car Accident Attorney Help You?

Sometimes, the reason for a car wreck is immediately apparent, such as a tire blow-out or faulty traffic signal. Other times, figuring out the root cause of an accident is more challenging, as with cases occurring around Daylight Savings Time which might involve sleep deprivation. 

If you or someone you love has suffered loss or personal injury in a New Jersey car accident, you need an experienced car accident attorney to sort out the facts. 

Contact us today for a complete case review and consultation. You can trust our New Jersey car accident lawyers to conduct a thorough investigation of your car accident, determine causation, and pursue the negligent party for the compensation you deserve.

About the Author
Greg Kohn is a partner at Nagel Rice and specializes in complex civil litigation cases, including professional malpractice, personal injury, class actions, wrongful death, products liability, and commercial litigation.  He has extensive experience representing clients in both state and federal court. Greg has tried many jury trials to verdict and has recovered over $50 million in settlements and verdicts in all types of personal injury matters including automobile accidents, wrongful death cases, slip and falls, and other catastrophic injury cases. Greg also handles medical malpractice cases, involving misdiagnoses, wrongful birth, and delayed cancer diagnosis. If you have questions regarding this article, you can contact Greg here.