New York City Personal Injury Law Blog

Spring Forward: A Look at the Upcoming Time Change and Drowsy Driving Risks

Posted on Feb 21, 2018 in Car Accidents

Drowsy driving can be extremely dangerous, especially as fatigued drivers tend to exhibit similar levels of impairment as drunk drivers.  If a motorist makes the choice to drive while drowsy, the risk of a collision rises. Victims of such a collision can pursue a claim for compensation to obtain payment for economic and non-financial loss from the motorist responsible for the accident.  New York City injury attorneys can help.

Unfortunately, there may be many more drowsy driving accidents around this time of year than there are during other routine months. As 13 ABC indicates, daylight saving time is a contributing factor to auto accidents and increases the likelihood that a crash will occur.

Daylight Saving Time Increases Auto Accident Risks

According to ABC 13, drowsy driving is one of the leading causes of auto accidents and one of the leading causes of car accident fatalities in the U.S.  Unfortunately, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has indicated that drowsy driving is likely underreported because of the difficulty in detecting when a motorist has caused an accident because he is fatigued.

Although collecting data is difficult, AAA has been able to identify patterns associated with when drowsy driving is especially likely to cause dangerous accidents. One important thing AAA discovered is that daylight savings can cause an increased accident risk because of the fact that daylight savings interferes with sleep schedules.

The AAA Public Affairs Manager explained why the switch to daylight saving time increases the risk of a collision, indicating. “When the clocks change, sleep cycles are interrupted and drivers can be more tired than they realize. Losing one hour of sleep takes an adjustment and motorists need to prepare by getting more rest, especially on Sunday,” according to a statement the Public Affairs Manager gave ABC 13.

Many Americans already get far too little sleep, with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warning that about 35 percent of U.S. drivers are getting less than the seven hours of nightly rest recommended by experts.  Losing an hour of sleep for daylight saving time could exacerbate the problem of too little rest, which is one reason why accident rates increase in the immediate aftermath of daylight savings.

Because daylight savings can also mean it is darker in the morning when a motorist gets up and commutes to work, visibility could also be an issue that helps to explain why there are more collisions shortly after daylight savings goes into effect.

Despite the change in the time, however, drivers are still expected to obey the rules of the road and to behave with reasonable care. If drivers fall short of fulfilling basic safety obligations – which they typically do when they choose to drive while fatigued – those drivers can be held accountable by victims if the negligent driver causes a car accident to occur.

New York City injury attorneys can provide assistance to victims of drowsy driving accidents and can provide help to those who have lost their loved ones due to accidents involving drowsy drivers. Give us a call today for help.

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