New Jersey residents may feel drowsy after the “spring forward” into daylight saving time. They should be aware that this loss of an hour of sleep leads, in the initial week, to a 6% increase in fatal car crashes nationwide according to one recent study. Researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder have calculated that about 28 fatal crashes occur in this week every year because of the transition.
The risk is even higher the farther west one lives in a time zone. Those on the westernmost edges may still find themselves commuting to work in the dark, so drowsiness becomes a problem. Researchers determined that there are 8% more fatal crashes in these regions.
Overall, the switch to DST has a negative impact on health and safety. Other studies have shown how there are more cases of on-the-job injuries and people reporting heart problems in the initial week of DST. While some might think that 28 more crashes nationwide is not much, the issue is more widespread; not all drowsy driving crashes end in fatality.
For their study, researchers analyzed over 730,000 car crashes that occurred between 1996 and 2017. The spike always followed the switch to DST even when the time change was rescheduled from April to March in 2007.
The victims of a drowsy driving crash may file a personal injury claim if they incurred serious injuries or disabilities. Otherwise, they would file with their own insurance company. To see what their options are, victims may see a lawyer, who, in turn, might bring in investigators and medical experts for assistance with every aspect of the case. Victims may leave all negotiations with their lawyer. If successful, they might be reimbursed for medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering.