Pennsylvania residents lose one hour of sleep with the spring forward into daylight saving time, and they should know what kind of effect this can have on health and safety. Various studies have shown an increase in workplace injuries and people reporting heart problems in the first week of DST. Now, a study from the University of Colorado Boulder links DST with a spike in fatal car accidents. The study was published in Current Biology in March 2020.
Researchers analyzed crashes spanning from 1996 and 2017 and discovered that every year, there were 6% more crashes ending in death during the first week of DST. This means approximately 28 fatal accidents every year. The number increased to 8% in the westernmost edges of each time zone since the people in these regions tend to get less sleep. The sun rises and sets later in such areas.
It may seem like a coincidence, but researchers affirm that it is not. The annual spike moved together with the start of DST when it was changed from April to March back in 2007. The study, with its focus on fatal crashes, does not tell the whole story regarding non-fatal crashes. Drowsy driving is a leading factor in car accidents because it can cause drivers to be inattentive and slow in assessing and reacting to dangers in front of them.
When drowsy drivers cause car collisions, they can be held responsible. Pennsylvania is a choice no-fault state, so victims may be wondering if they have good grounds for a third-party insurance claim. If they can file one, they might be reimbursed not just for monetary damages like medical bills and property damage but also non-monetary damages like pain and suffering. A lawyer may assess the case and determine the best possible way to proceed. He or she may also assist with negotiations.