Every second Sunday of March, Connecticut residents spring forward into daylight saving time, losing one hour of sleep in the process. Various studies show that this disruption of millions of people’s sleep schedules can have a negative effect on health and safety, raising the risk for workplace injuries, heart attacks and stroke.
Another study, this time from the University of Colorado Boulder, found that DST causes an annual 6% increase in fatal auto accidents within the first week. It should be kept in mind that the “mini jet lag” caused by the spring switch can sometimes last two weeks.
The 6% increase translates to 28 fatal car crashes every year. Cities in the westernmost regions of their time zone actually see an 8% rise, and this is largely because residents there sleep less than those who live farther east in the time zone.
The issue is no doubt more widespread than the study shows because not all accidents end in death. Drivers must do all they can, then, to prepare each year for DST. This may mean going to bed early on the days preceding the switch and minimizing light exposure from laptops, phones and TVs. Drowsy driving is a lot like drunk driving in that it’s characterized by inattention, poor judgment and slow reaction times.
A personal injury case may be pursued if one suffers injury at the hands of a drowsy driver. Since it can be hard to prove drowsy driving, though, victims may want a lawyer to handle their case. Car crash investigators, medical experts and other third parties might come in to assist with the case. The lawyer may then be able to negotiate on their behalf for a reasonable settlement covering medical costs, vehicle repair costs, wages lost during the physical recovery and more.