On March 8, 2020, daylight saving time begins. Florida residents should be aware that losing one hour of sleep can have a negative impact on driving; in fact, a study from the University of Colorado Boulder found that this loss of sleep raises the risk for fatal car accidents. The study was published in the journal Current Biology in January 2020.
Before arriving at their conclusions, researchers looked at some 733,000 fatal car crashes that occurred between 1996 and 2017 in those states that observe daylight saving time. In the week after the spring switch, the fatal car crash risk went up 6%. They found that the risk would be especially high in the mornings and in the westernmost regions of each time zone.
This came to over 28 crash fatalities during every workweek immediately following the switch to DST, or more than 5.7 fatal crashes per day from Monday to Friday. A total of 626 fatal crashes could have been avoided, researchers believe, if there were no switch to DST.
Researchers emphasize that though the physical effect of the transition may be minor, one is still talking about billions of people who are impacted. The risk may be greater than the study shows since, after all, it only considered fatal crashes.
Lack of sleep leads to drowsy driving, which leads to car accidents, but fortunately, those who are injured through no fault of their own may pursue a claim against the other driver. Drowsy driving is a form of negligence, but establishing that the defendant is guilty of it can be hard. For this and other reasons, victims may want a lawyer on their case. The lawyer might start by evaluating the case under Florida’s pure comparative negligence rule and determining how much victims might be eligible for.