New study links DST with rise in fatal crashes in first week

On Behalf of | Mar 12, 2020 | Firm News |

You were injured in a car accident in Bismarck, North Dakota, and you’re wondering how the other side caused it. In some cases, the cause can be difficult to determine and prove: for example, drowsy driving crashes. However, if the accident took place shortly after the switch to daylight saving time, then drowsiness is more likely to be a contributing factor.

The loss of one hour of sleep can lead to more than just a feeling of disorientation. Studies have pointed to an increase in heart attacks, stroke and workplace injuries in the week following the “spring forward.” A more recent study says that the number of fatal car crashes goes up in the first week of DST.

Fatal car crashes rise 6% after DST

Researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder analyzed crash data spanning the years 1996 to 2017 and found a consistent increase of 6% in fatal crashes in the first week of spring DST. This means that every year in the U.S., about 28 fatal crashes occur that can be related to DST.

The farther west one goes in a time zone, the higher the crash rate: It goes up to 8%. The residents of cities on the western edge of time zones are more likely to crash after DST because they already get less sleep than others who live farther east in the time zone.

How drowsiness affects drivers

Severe sleep deprivation can impair a driver just as much as alcohol intoxication. It can make drivers inattentive to the road and prevent them from making split-second decisions when faced with a hazard.

Consulting a lawyer after an accident

You should know that North Dakota is a no-fault state, so there are restrictions on who can file a personal injury claim. This restriction applies to those seeking compensation for their injuries. It does not apply to claims regarding vehicle damage. A lawyer may evaluate your case in light of the state’s modified comparative fault rule and bring in investigators to try to prove that the other driver was negligent.