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Daylight saving time linked to car accidents

California motorists may be surprised to learn that the annual spring forward for daylight saving time may lead to more car accidents, according to studies. As a result, experts advise drivers to use extra caution in the days immediately following the time change.

In 1999, researchers at Johns Hopkins University and Stanford University analyzed 21 years of fatal car crash statistics from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration in order to determine the impact of sleep disruption on drivers. They discovered that the Monday after the spring time change had an average of 83.5 deadly crashes, compared to an average of 78.2 on a normal Monday. The authors of the study believe that the reason for the increase is that people suffer sleep deprivation after the spring shift to daylight saving time.

In 1996, Canadian researchers also noted an 8 percent increase in car crashes after the spring time change, and a British study in 1980 noted a similar jump in car accidents. Meanwhile, a 2016 study published in the American Economic Journal: Applied Economics determined that daylight saving time may be responsible for approximately 30 deaths a year. While that number is relatively small, experts say it proves some American drivers do not have enough residual sleep reserves to sufficiently handle the loss associated with daylight saving time.

Drowsy drivers cause thousands of motor vehicle accidents across the U.S. each year. Individuals injured by a sleep-deprived driver may have grounds to file a personal injury lawsuit seeking compensation for damages. If the complaint is successful, an injured victim may be awarded damages that cover medical costs, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other related amounts.

Source: VOX, "Another reason to hate daylight saving time: car crashes", Brian Resnick, March 9, 2017

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