Higher Number of Traffic Crashes During Daylight Savings Change
They say it was Benjamin Franklin who came up with the idea of Daylight Savings Time (DST) (or “summer time”) as a way to increase the amount of work that could be done by daylight. In his day, it would have been nearly impossible to implement it. In 2019, battles continue to rage over whether switching to DST is worthwhile. Some Americans argue that moving the clock forward during summer saves electricity and reduces crime. Others maintain that it disrupts people’s schedules and sleep, harming their health. Evidence exists that supports both claims.
In 2015, research by Austin Smith of the University of Colorado-Boulder compared data on the number of vehicle crashes that occur just before and after the time changes in each year. He found that fatal crashes increased by about six percent over the six days immediately following the spring “leap forward,” but not after the autumn transition. He attributed the rise in crashes to inadequate sleep.
For those who are used to getting a full eight hours of sleep, one hour can make a huge difference. Losing it can lead to grogginess. Drivers are less alert, due to the sleep deprivation caused by the loss of an hour of sleep, and need almost a week to adjust to the darker morning commutes. The National PTA objects to DST, arguing for more daylight in the early morning hours when children are on their way to school. Still, no research has definitely proven that DST is a killer, according to Bloomberg View.
In 2005, the US Congress voted to extend DST from six months to eight months, from March to November. Its fate is not yet determined: President Trump, who lost an hour of executive time in March, has made known his preference for keeping DST all year round.
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