Drivers in California may feel drowsy after the spring switch to daylight saving time, in which case they should know just how dangerous this can be. A University of Colorado Boulder study found that every year across the U.S., there is a rise in fatal car crashes in the first workweek following DST. It is a rise of 6%, which translates to approximately 28 additional fatal crashes.
Previous studies have linked DST to other adverse events, including a greater number of heart attacks and workplace injuries in the initial week. This study focuses only on fatal accidents, so the situation for drivers is likely worse than it has found. Researchers add that there are 8% more fatal crashes in those areas that are further west in a time zone, especially in cities that lie on the westernmost edge of a time zone like Amarillo, Texas.
Those on the westernmost edges have been found to sleep an average of 19 fewer minutes than those living elsewhere in the same time zone. It’s to be expected, then, that the “mini jetlag” caused by DST would impact them more than others. In fact, one of the study’s authors, who works at CU Boulder’s circadian and sleep epidemiology lab, states that the feeling of jetlag may last up to two weeks.
DST-related or not, drowsy driving can easily form the basis for a personal injury case because it is negligent behavior. Drivers are not entirely helpless, after all; they can prepare in various ways to weather the transition. As for those who are injured by a drowsy driver, they may choose to consult a lawyer. If retained, a lawyer may handle the steps of gathering evidence, filing the claim and negotiating for a settlement. If successful, victims may be reimbursed for medical bills, lost wages and more.