Drivers in Texas and across the United States may feel a little groggy when spring daylight saving time begins as clocks spring forward. The sleepiness that many commuters feel as they head to work can lead to danger on the road.
Researchers from the University of Colorado, Boulder found that car accidents increase in the week after daylight saving time begins. Fatal accidents increase by 6% during this week, leading to an additional 28 deaths per year across the country. Additionally, researchers found that the farther west an individual lives in his or her time zone, the greater the likelihood of them being involved in a fatal accident.
The time change has other effects as well. Previous studies have found that more work accidents and heart problems happen during the week following daylight saving time. The various safety and health concerns have many lawmakers taking action. Several states, which include Washington, Oregon and California, are considering doing away with the change. Currently, 48 states in the country participate in daylight saving time; Hawaii and Arizona are the only states that do not. Experts believe that stopping the time change may have positive effects.
It’s important that drivers who live in states that participate in daylight saving time take precautions in the week after the time change. Going to sleep earlier, participating in ride-sharing or drinking caffeine can all help make drivers more alert on the road. Drivers have the responsibility to be fully rested before driving. If they aren’t and a motor vehicle accident occurs, they might have behaved negligently. For example, a commuter who falls asleep while driving may hit another vehicle. A civil suit may be filed on behalf of the injured or deceased party, and damages might be awarded to the injured party.