As most people are aware, daylight saving time recently came into effect in most areas of the country, including New Jersey. What people may not know is that “springing forward” one hour in March can lead to a higher rate of traffic accidents, including fatal crashes.
According to a nationwide study, which analyzed 732,835 accidents in the United States between 1996 and 2017, fatal car accidents increase by 6% after the spring change of the clocks. In the study, this increase was consistent across the years, even after daylight saving was bumped up from April to March.
These findings were not limited to the time change in the spring. Researchers also found that accidents increase again in the fall after clocks revert to standard time. The majority of accidents that happen after “falling back” an hour occur at night since drivers may suddenly find themselves driving home in the dark. After the start of daylight saving time, the converse is true with most accidents happening in the morning.
After changing the clocks forward one hour, not only are drivers suddenly thrown into driving in the dark in the morning, but they are also likely to be more tired after losing an hour of sleep, which puts them at a higher risk of causing an accident. Though the nationwide study focused primarily on fatal car crashes, there is undoubtedly a corresponding increase in crashes resulting in some form of personal injury after a time change.
Car accident victims in New Jersey might consider consulting with a personal injury attorney after they are involved in a crash. An attorney may be able to assist car crash victims with obtaining medical expenses reimbursed by insurance companies or getting other compensation for pain and suffering.