A University of Colorado study found that there are more car accidents immediately after a time change than there are the rest of the year. This study comes on the heels of other daylight saving time studies, which found that individuals are more likely to suffer heart problems or workplace injuries following spring daylight saving time when people move their clocks forward one hour.
Based on the records analyzed, researchers at the University of Colorado concluded that there is a 6% increase in fatal auto accidents in the U.S. during the first week following the spring time change. In cities that are on the western edge of their time zones, this accident rate is even higher. One of the reasons for this may be that areas on the western state borders already have a later sunrise and sunset to begin with, which contributes to residents getting less sleep. Another reason that traffic accidents may increase across the nation is that employees have to drive to work in the dark after the spring time change.
There is also an increase in accidents when people revert back to standard time in the fall, presumably because the time change means that people who were used to driving home when it was light out are now suddenly driving home in the dark. The rise in injuries and deaths associated with changing the clock may explain why some states on the west coast are considering doing away with the time change altogether.
The increased accident rates associated with time changes show how much a driver’s environment can impact his or her ability to drive safely. Individuals involved in vehicle accidents in Colorado may want to consider consulting with a personal injury attorney regarding possible financial recovery.