New research has shown that if you set the clocks forward an hour in spring, and lose an hour of sleep, it increases your risk of fatal car accidents.
The study involved the analysis of nearly 733,000 fatal car accidents that occurred between 1996-2017 in states that have made the transition to Daylight Savings Time (DST).
Investigators discovered that the risk of fatal crashes increased by nearly 6% within the first week following the switch. This was particularly true in the morning, and at locations further west within a time zone.
This equates to an additional 5.7 fatalities per day, Monday through Friday, or more than 28 traffic accidents during the workweek.
According to the Jan. 30 report in Current Biology, 626 fatal accidents could have been avoided over the 22-year period by not switching to Daylight Savings Time.
Celine Vetter, a senior author at the University of Colorado Boulder, stated that DST’s acute adverse effects on fatal traffic accidents risk can be avoided.
Vetter stated that while the observed effects of DST are small and not lasting, they are significant enough to have an impact on public health.
Many states are considering eliminating the changing of clocks. Experts agree that permanent Standard Time is better for your health and well-being.
A number of problems have been linked to the annual spring switch to DST, including an increased risk of heart attacks, workplace accidents, and suicides. This study also supports the notion that there is an increase in car accidents, due to the time change.
Vetter stated that the data shows DST’s connection to fatal traffic accident risks.
“Because our data only included the most severe accidents, namely where a fatality was recorded, this estimation is likely an underestimation of the true risk,” Vetter said.
Updated on 01/20/2022