Your Hometown Lawyers
Photo of Michelle R. Harrison and Chadwick D. Medlin

Will daylight savings lead to an increase in car accidents?

On Behalf of | Mar 8, 2024 | Car Wrecks |

It is almost that time of year again. Daylight savings is just days away and we will spring our clocks one hour ahead. Aside from the controversy of whether or not we should continue to follow daylight savings, it is important to note that there are some unintended consequences. One example: an increased risk of drowsiness due to sleep deprivation.

Unfortunately, this drowsiness is more than an inconvenience. A lack of sleep can greatly increase the risk of a car crash. The American Automobile Association (AAA) recently dug into the issue, finding that drowsy driving was responsible for 6,725 deaths in 2021 alone.

The reduction of sleep that comes with daylight savings can be enough to disrupt sleep patterns and lead to reduced alertness and slower reaction times — factors that are critical for safe driving.

How dangerous is driving while drowsy?

The National Sleep Foundation warns that sleep deprivation can impair driving ability in much the same way as alcohol intoxication. Drivers may not even be aware of their diminished capacity, making them a hazard on the road.

Who is responsible for these accidents?

From a legal standpoint, drowsy driving can lead to serious consequences. Liability in accidents involving fatigued drivers can result in:

  • Civil penalties
  • Criminal charges

Individuals involved in accidents due to drowsy driving may face lawsuits or even vehicular manslaughter charges. It is critical for drivers to recognize the risks and take responsibility for their alertness on the road.

The correlation between daylight saving time and an increase in traffic accidents is a reminder of the importance of adequate sleep. As we adjust our clocks, we must also adjust our habits to ensure we are well-rested and alert behind the wheel. The legal ramifications of drowsy driving serve as a stern warning that sleep is not just a personal necessity but important for the safety of all those around us when we get behind the wheel.

Of course, even when we take precautions and get that extra sleep, accidents can happen. Those who believe they are the victim of an accident due to another driver’s inability to operate their vehicle with care can likely hold that driver legally accountable for the expenses that result from the accident. This could include medical bills and missed wages.

An attorney experienced in this area of the law can review your case and discuss your options to better ensure you receive the compensation you are entitled.


FindLaw Network